I love this summary of a study on unusual hallucinations in an elderly Japanese lady.
The full article is in Japanese but the translation of the abstract and the form of her hallucinations gives it a stylised quality that reminds me of the traditional art from the country.
The last sentence is wonderfully zen-like.
[Formed visual hallucination after excision of the right temporo parietal cystic meningioma–a case report.]
Brain Nerve. 2010 Aug;62(8):893-7.
Yoshimura M, Uchiyama Y, Kaneko A, Hayashi N, Yamanaka K, Iwai Y.
We report the case of a 64-year-old woman with cystic meningioma; this patients was otherwise healthy and experienced formed visual hallucinations after excision of the tumor. She experienced diplopia associated with metamorphopsia, which had persisted for 5 years only when she laid down and turned on her left side.
After the excision of the convexity meningioma located in the right temporoparietal lobe, she experienced several types of formed visual hallucinations such as closet-like pictures, flowers sketched on stones, falling maple-like leaves, and moving or wriggling dwarves.
She was alert and her visual field was normal; further, she did not experience delirium or seizures. She experienced these hallucinations only when she closed her eyes; these hallucinations persisted for 3 days after the operation.
The patient illustrated her observations with beautiful sketches, and the mechanism of visual hallucinations was studied.
If any of our Japanese readers have access to the article I would love to see if it has examples of the patient’s “beautiful sketches”.
Link to PubMed entry for study.
3 thoughts on “Flowers, falling maple leaves and wriggling dwarves”
Although I don’t have access to the article I strongly suspect some of the sketches would be included. Most Japanese I know are good at drawing – perhaps because of their written language, perhaps because of the lack of a coherent street address system necessitates drawing maps rather than providing verbal directions.
Reminded me of a great TED Talk by Oliver Sacks about Charles Bonnet Syndrome, a condition where visually impaired people experience hallucinations. I think some of the individuals he cited also saw small dwarves. Weird.
I remember my grandfather after a stroke in a hospital bed completely mystified that the doctors, nice as they where, couldn’t see the lovely moving pictures on all his walls. He described them in great detail and they where obviously a source of great comfort to him.