Loss of fear after brain surgery

AmericaThe 32-year-old patient, from New York, is no longer afraid of anything after having surgery to remove the right amygdala.

The patient mentioned above, Jody Smith, used to suffer from brief panic attacks that occurred several times a day. He often loses consciousness suddenly and has no memory of what just happened. After visiting the doctor, he was diagnosed with epilepsy. Smith took two years to treat his epilepsy with medication, but to no avail. Brain surgery is his last hope.

Before performing the surgery, doctors implanted probes inside Smith’s brain to locate the seizure onset. Smith was then instructed to “deliberately” induce the seizure, allowing doctors to pinpoint the exact area of ​​the brain to be removed.

Smith said he found “self-tortures” like playing loud music and not sleeping to trigger the epileptic response. At one point, the doctor even encouraged him to drink beer to speed up this process.

After a week, the doctors found their target. These are the anterior half of the right temporal lobe, the right amygdala, and the right hippocampus (a brain region that improves memory) of Smith.

Three days after the surgery, Smith was discharged. While recovering, he noticed that the operation caused him problems with memory and concentration. More than that, it made him unable to feel fear.

“People have fears like fear of women or fear of failure. Here, I want to talk about fear of facing death or trauma. In this situation, my sense of fear has gone.” , Smith said.

Jody Smith – patient no longer feels fear after brain surgery. Image: Vice

He recounts a number of experiences showing how the surgery influenced his behaviour. While walking through Newark, New Jersey, Smith encountered a group of robbers. Instead of avoiding the criminals, he calmly faced and passed them. Bold actions keep him safe and sound.

Another time, Smith was bitten by a spider, but he didn’t panic. As an avid hiker, he found that his fear also disappeared when he stood near steep cliffs.

Smith seemed satisfied with his new sensation. Although he still has problems with memory and concentration, he says life gets better when “there is no fear”. Smith explains that he can keep a cool head to analyze situations rather than being dominated by emotions.

While medical experts say the loss of fear is an undesirable side effect, they are not surprised by Smith’s new vision. According to Dr. Sanne van Rooij, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University, Smith’s response was similar to other cases who have undergone similar surgery.

Mai Dung (According to the RT, Vice)


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