Stroke victim cannot stop helping others after developing pathological generosity
2013 09 09

By Jennifer Smith | Mail Online

A man in Brazlil developed what doctors have called pathological generosity, after a stroke damaged parts of his brain causing his behaviour to change.

The 49-year-old began to give away money, food and drinks excessively after a stroke disrupted the part of his brain related to higher thinking and decision making.

Researchers at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro concluded the man was left with ’excessive and persistent generosity’ by the stroke which was brought on by bleeding in his brain.

Doctors were able to determine the stroke occurred in a subcortical region of Mr A’s brain which controls higher level thinking, and therefore could have affected areas associated with regulating normal behavior.

It was caused by bleeding in the brain, a side effect of the man’s high blood pressure.

But, experts say knowing where the stroke occurred does not predict changes in behavior or personality, as the complexity of networks means an area not necessarily next to the injury can be affected.

Dr Larry Goldstein, a neurologist and director of the Stroke Centre at Duke University said: ’Although the observation of personality change is not that unusual, this particular one is apparently novel.’

The doctor told the Huffington Post: ’Stroke can cause a whole variety of neuropsychological and behavioral changes’, adding that brain damage caused by low oxygen supply can lead to emotional changes with depression being the most common.

Stroke has also been known to cause uncontrollable laughing or crying or neglect syndrome, in which people don’t recognize one side of their visual field.

Doctors at the University in Rio de Janeiro found Mr A’s case particularly interesting as it represented the opposite attitude to conditions which result from stroke more commonly, such as hoarding and sociopathy.

Studies have indicated in the past that certain brain structures, including the region which registers reward, have been involved in instances of generosity like donating anonymously donating to charity.

The researchers said Mr A’s condition could shed light on the relationship between ’altruism and egoism’ which are crucial to decision making.

According to his wife, the man spent his money on food and drink for children in the street, and was incapable of resuming his managerial job within a large corporation after the stroke.

When asked by researchers if he wanted to return to work, he reportedly said he had worked enough and that it was time to ’enjoy life which is too short.’

Mr A told doctors he was aware of changes in his behavior and claimed he ’saw death from close up’ and wanted to ’be in high spirits’ from then onwards.

Other streaks of generous behavior have been linked to people with mania, dementia and Parkinson’s disease when treated, but Mr A showed no symptoms of such conditions when psychologically evaluated.


[...]

Read the full article at: dailymail.co.uk




Tune into Red Ice Radio to hear guest Barbra Oakley speak on Pathological Altruism:

Barbara Oakley - Hour 1 - Pathological Altruism




Related Articles
Stroke patient who can’t feel sad: Condition leaves man permanently happy
Arizona Twins Suffer Strokes at 26, Only Months Apart
Rugby player ’woke up gay’ after stroke
“Those who give are not all generous”: Tips and Bribes at the Sixteenth-Century Papal Court
Can plants be altruistic?


Latest News from our Front Page

If Someone Secretly Controlled What You Say, Would Anyone Notice?
2014 10 01
The subject enters a room in which a 12-year-old boy is seated. A 20-minute conversation ensues. The subject quizzes the boy about current events and other topics to get a sense of his intelligence and personality. But the boy is not what he appears to be. Unbeknownst to the subject, the boy is wearing a radio receiver in his ear, and ...
Obama has had accurate intelligence about ISIS since BEFORE the 2012 election, says administration insider
2014 10 01
‘President Barack Obama’s intelligence briefings have provided him with specific information since before he won re-election in 2012 about the growing threat of the terror group now known alternatively as ISIS and ISIL, an administration insider told MailOnline on Monday. ‘Unless someone very senior has been shredding the president’s daily briefings and telling him that the dog ate them, highly accurate ...
Can holding a magnet against your head help defeat depression?
2014 10 01
Former GP Sue Mildred suffered from crippling depression and anxiety for 20 years. On two occasions it was so severe that she ended up in hospital, and for 15 years she was unable to work. Sue, 51, has tried antidepressants, talking therapies and, out of desperation, even ECT (electro-convulsive therapy), where an electric current is passed through the brain. This did ...
Extremists to have Facebook and Twitter vetted by anti-terror police
2014 09 30
Theresa May to announce new Extremist Disruption Orders to strengthen counter-terrorism if the Tories win the next general election Extremists will have to get posts on Facebook and Twitter approved in advance by the police under sweeping rules planned by the Conservatives. They will also be barred from speaking at public events if they represent a threat to “the functioning of democracy”, ...
Scottish Independence: Protesters demand revote
2014 09 30
Pro-independence campaigners gathered outside the Scottish Parliament for the second day in a row, this time to demand a revote of the September 18 referendum. While yesterday’s “Rally For A Revote” saw the return of Saltires and Yes banners to Holyrood, it did not match the turnout for the “Voice Of The People” rally held on Saturday, when up 3000 people ...
More News »