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Acinetopsia (blindness to movement): types, symptoms, causes and treatment

Acinetopsia (blindness to movement): types, symptoms, causes and treatment

June 19, 2024

When we observe the environment, our eyes perform a large number of movements to capture each and every one of the details and movements that compose it. Next, our brain composes a harmonious image of everything that surrounds us, including objects and people in movement.

Our vision works like a video camera that produces thousands of frames of what surrounds it, while our brain projects the "film" in our mind. However, what happens when this function is altered? In these cases appears acinetopsia , a disorder in which the person has difficulty perceiving the movement.

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What is acinetopsia?

Acinetopsia, also known under the terms akinetopsia or blindness to movement , consists of a disorder of a neurological nature that affects the sense of sight. Specifically, acinetopsia causes, in those who suffer from it, an inability to perceive movement through sight.

This condition, described for the first time around 1991 by the British-born neurologist Semir Zeki, makes the affected person can not perceive the movement . The patient can not see the movement of his own body, like that of other people or objects.

However, acinetopsia is not an "all or nothing" condition. This condition can have varying degrees of severity. From the mildest, in which the person perceives the movement as his was a sequence of images or a film in which the frames go in slow motion; even the most serious, in which the patient experiences a total inability to perceive the movement.

In this disorder, the person can only perceive other subjects, objects or herself in one place and suddenly in another. Or at best, he perceives a kind of diffused wake behind the moving object.

Even though the rest of sensory functions and abilities remain intact, people with acinetopsia also have their visual motor skills disturbed . Since not perceiving their own movements well, tasks such as walking and moving, or reaching objects can be really complicated.

Types of acinetopsia and symptoms

As mentioned above, acinetopsia can present in different degrees of affection. These grades constitute the different types of this disorder, which vary both in the severity of the symptoms and in the level of blindness that it causes in the person.

There are two different types of acinetopsia . They are the following.

1. Fine or discrete Acinetopsia

This first type of acinetopsia, known as fine or discrete, is the one that presents a milder symptomatology and, therefore, less disabling for the person. Although equally, people who suffer from it report experiencing enormous discomfort.

In light acinetopsia, the person perceives movement as if you were visualizing a reel in which the frames are moving at a much slower speed . Another example would be a multiple exposure photograph, in which the person can perceive the wake of the movement of both objects and people, including the patient himself.

At the moment, it is not known what abnormality in the functioning of the organism causes this disorder. However, experts point to the idea that abnormal functioning in the mechanisms that allow us to maintain visual stability in eye movements can cause this type of acinetopsia.

2. Macroscopic acinetopsia

Also known as thick acinetopsia, this kind of blindness to movement is extremely unusual and of very low incidence among the population.

In contrast to fine acinetopsia, in the macroscopic the person is completely unable to perceive the movement in its entirety. This means that the person can only see a static world in which for a moment the object or person is in one place and at the moment in a different one.

The few people who suffer it, tend to suffer numerous problems to perform their daily tasks normally . Daily activities such as having a conversation are highly complicated since the patient is unable to perceive changes in the movement of facial expressions. Likewise, daily routines, such as crossing the street, become very dangerous; since it is not possible to perceive the movement of automobiles.

In order to compensate for these difficulties, people with acinetopsia train their hearing. In this way, through the sense of listening they can, for example, calculate the distance of objects that are in motion.

What are the causes?

The origin of acinetopsia is an abnormal functioning or interruption of activity in the area of ​​the crust that is found in the central area of ​​the temporal lobe . Structural alterations in this area of ​​the brain can transform the processes of understanding sensory information. In the case of this strange disorder, it is the processes that treat visual information that are involved.

There are several reasons why this brain region may be affected. From brain injuries, to the consumption of certain antidepressants or hallucinogens, or some diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.

1. Brain injuries

One of the causes of this disorder can be an injury caused in the posterior area of ​​the visual cortex , although it is really complicated, since an injury of this type is likely to generate many more sensory deficits.

  • Related article: "Visual cortex of the brain: structure, parts and ways"

2. Antidepressant medication

The administration of very high doses of some antidepressants can cause visual problems such as acinetopsia. However, it tends to disappear when the treatment is eliminated or the dose is readjusted.

3. Hallucinogenic substances

A habitual or recurrent consumption of certain hallucinogenic substances can cause sensory alterations of all kinds , including the less serious version of the acinetopsia, the fine acinetopsia.

4. Migraine Aura

The aura is a visual phenomenon that accompanies the headaches of migraines. This tends to appear moments before the access of pain and is manifested by visual symptoms such as spots in space, flashes or fine acinetopsia.

  • Maybe you're interested: "The 7 types of migraine (characteristics and causes)"

5. Alzheimer's disease

Although they do not appear very frequently, acinetopsia, present in different degrees, may accompany alterations in the memory of Alzheimer's patients.

Is there a treatment?

At the moment, there are no pre-established guidelines for the treatment of acinetopsia. In cases in which this is caused by the administration of psychotropic drugs, the interruption of their consumption should eliminate the symptoms of this disorder.

However, Brain surgery, although risky, is an option to try to eliminate acinetopsia in those cases in which there is a brain injury.

Divergent Minds - Mind Field S2 (Ep 7) (June 2024).

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