BBC All in the Mind returns

raj_persaud.jpgBBC Radio 4′s All in the Mind (not to be confused with the Australian radio show of the same name) has returned to the airwaves with a fascinating section on Anarchic Hand syndrome:

The idea of a hand with its own will has been used as a comic device by many movie makers and writers…including in “Dr Strangelove”. But a little known fact is that there is a rare and fascinating neurological phenomena which can cause this Strangelove-type behaviour to happen – called alien, or anarchic, hand syndrome, a condition which means that people cannot control the actions of one of their hands. This month an intriguing new case history of alien hand syndrome has just been reported by a Japanese group in the journal Surgical Neurology, and Raj discusses the syndrome with expert Sergio Della Sala, Professor of Human Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh.

Link to website and audio archive of BBC All in the Mind.

One Comment

  1. Gary Goldberg
    Posted January 1, 2006 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    I have published a number of papers and collected videos of individuals who present with alien hand syndrome in connection with specifically localized brain lesions. The development of alien hand phenomena in the context of brain injury can be viewed as a fascinating window into the normal operation of the mind and consciousness at least as it relates to the concepts of volition, voluntary will and the neurobiologic basis of purposeful action. There is the general issue that the normal experience of causal relationship between a sense of internal control over limb movement and the overt manifestation of internal will in terms of the appearance of purposeful body movement occurs through a specifically constrained neurobiologic process. When things go well, there is “connection” between the internal experience and the overt manifestation. However, when things get “de-railed” through various pathologies, a disconnection develops between the internal experience of volition and the overt external manifestation of movement. The result can be quite extraordinary with some clinical “stories” that are of general interest, I think.


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