A patient I saw not long ago who had been in a car accident, had sustained a head injury and was in a coma for about a couple of weeks. Then he came out of this coma and he was quite intact neurologically when I examined him. But he had one profound delusion – he would look at his mother and say “Doctor, this woman looks exactly like my mother but she isn’t, she is an imposter”.
Scientists call this the Capgras syndrome.
Ramachandran explains that identification of images that the eyes sees and the emotional responses to those images in the brain happen in different parts of our brain. When there is a disconnect between these two parts, as it happened with this patient after an accident, the image of the mother didn’t produce the same emotions as it used to before.
Ramachandran says that when the patient spoke to his mother on the phone, he was emotionally connected to her. But, he wasn’t when he saw her. The auditory recognition system of the brain still was wired to the emotions, but the visual recognition system wasn’t.
It has taken this long for brilliant, path-breaking scientists like Ramachandran to understand and communicate the games that our mind plays. These cases would have been dismissed as madness a few years ago.
Our brain has a few hundred billion cells. Our body has nearly a hundred trillion cells. We call the intelligence contained in these cells as our mind. Our brain is a small part of our mind. There is a lot more that happens within our mind body system that scientists have not understood yet.
It’s only in the last few decades that scientists and doctors, at least the intelligent ones among them, agree that diseases and illnesses cannot be cured by treating the body symptoms alone. They realize that the mind, meaning the trillions of cells in the body mind system, play a role in the creation of diseases and therefore the cure. The treatment of diseases must be holistic to succeed.
We talked about energy centers of the mind body system earlier. The chakras are an inherent part of our body mind intelligence. When they function well, we are well. When they malfunction, we are ill. Right now, this may smack of quackery.
So did treatment of Capgras syndrome a decade ago.