Some people seem to be able to navigate effortlessly, but we've all experienced the frustration of getting lost. For people like Sharon Roseman, who suffer from a unique medical disorder, getting lost is a part of everyday life — even getting lost in their own homes.
“I can literally see my house out the car window, but I have no clue that it’s my house,” Roseman told NBC’s Kristen Dahlgren.
First described in 2008 in the journal Neuropsychologia as a single case study, developmental topographical disorientation (DTD) causes people to get lost in even in places where they’ve lived for years. At least 1,000 people have been diagnosed with the disorder, but many more are thought to be suffering from it.
There is little to predict the condition; it is not preceded by brain injury and often appears very early in life. It is not accompanied by other deficiencies in memory or intellectual ability.
Gettinglost.ca, a website devoted to the disorder, says “the condition may occur despite the lack of any apparent brain damage or other cognitive impairments, and result in a lifelong difficulty that may severely affect an individual's daily life.”
Scientists don’t understand exactly what’s happening in the brains of people with DTD. They say that the ability to navigate is based on systems for perceiving where you are, keeping track of where you are heading, and keeping track of the distance you’ve moved. It’s thought that for people with DTD, those systems aren’t communicating properly with each other.
Roseman is speaking out about the condition in hope of spreading awareness. NBC’s Kristen Dahlgren reports in the video below.
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