What Is Capgras Syndrome?
Capgras syndrome is a rare genetic disorder characterized by severe mental retardation. The condition results from mutations in the gene called FMR1 which causes the body’s immune system to attack white blood cells (leukocytes) and other organs. The resulting damage leads to death within two years of diagnosis. There are no known treatments or cures for this disease.
The symptoms of Capgras syndrome include:
mental retardation (difficulty understanding what others say and doing simple tasks such as reading, writing, and math);
severe learning disabilities;
poor motor skills; and/or
a combination of both.
People with Capgras syndrome have a 50% chance of passing on the condition to their children. The average life expectancy is 15 years.
Causes Of Capgras Syndrome?
There are many possible causes of Capgras syndrome, but there is currently no cure or treatment available.
The leading theory suggests that it is caused by an autoimmune disorder. The body’s immune system normally fights off infection by attacking viruses and bacteria, but in a few cases it turns on different parts of the body.
In the case of Capgras syndrome, the body mistakes brain cells for foreign invaders and begins to attack them. It is believed that the memory center of the brain, called the hippocampus, is particularly vulnerable to this effect. As a result, brain cells begin to deteriorate and over time it can lead to the symptoms of Capgras syndrome.
Capgras syndrome can also be caused by a head injury or brain tumor. The condition can also be inherited, but this is very rare.
It is too early to tell what exact role each of these factors plays in the development of Capgras syndrome, but it is likely that a combination of several different causes are responsible for this condition.
Capgras syndrome is a very rare condition that has only been identified and researched in the last two decades. There are probably many more forms of the condition that have yet to be properly diagnosed.
Capgras syndrome can be hard for doctors to detect because it often mimics other conditions such as autism and mental retardation. A careful medical history and thorough physical examination are usually all it takes for a doctor to make a proper diagnosis.
Treatments For Capgras Syndrome?
Sources & references used in this article:
Capgras’ syndrome by RJ Berson – 1982 – academicworks.cuny.edu
Capgras syndrome: a reduplicative phenomenon by MP Alexander, DT Stuss, DF Benson – Neurology, 1979 – AAN Enterprises
Capgras’ syndrome: the delusion of substitution. by SF Signer – The Journal of clinical psychiatry, 1987 – psycnet.apa.org
The Capgras syndrome following head injury by MJ Weston, FA Whitlock – The British Journal of Psychiatry, 1971 – cambridge.org