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Loss of ability to recognize faces

Ok so im a 26 year old male and about a week/ 2 weeks before christmas i got sick just flu like stuff nuthing odd on the first day second day was worse so i called in to work and that day i noticed that i couldnt tell who ppl were by looking them in the face if they talked i knew who they were by their voice. Im not having problems seeing i can see fine i can read i can write but couldnt recognize anyone friends coworders family i didnt want to say anything to anyone cause about the time i say anything things stop so i waited and i waited near around christmas eve i started noticing that "some" ppl i could recognize by some i mean like 5 ppl, 3 family 1 friend and 1 customer from where i work. on christmas day i could recognize about half of my family there was about 65 or so family there. after that i started figuring out that i could recognize ppl by their hair styles. also from time to time it feels like i get pressure in my head near the temples and across the front between them and from time to time i get light headed and feel like im going to fall. the day this started i also had a pain in my upper jaw when i would move it around or open it wide today both sides now hurt when i do that.
the week after christmas i started trying to get a doc to see me i say try because it took about 7 tries before i found one that would talk with me everyone else i tried to go see just told me that no one there could help me and i would need to find someone else that would went there and they took a ct scan and called me back said there was nothing on it no oddities. they set me up an appointment with a neuroligest but thats not till the end of march does anyone have any idea what this could or might be?
the other day i told some of my family and my aunt said that the family had a history of mini seizurs but no one else in the family said anything so not sure she had a few of them some time back and when ppl talk to her sometimes she doesnt know what they are saying she can hear them but its like they are talking in another language
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Avatar universal
ok back sorry forgot where i put this post ok so iv done a mri w/without contrast and thats come back clear iv done a brainwave scan but they have not called me back on the results

but im understanding more of it its not that im forgetting what ppl look like its everyone that im having problems with like everyones face is somehow messed up but it doesnt look blurry just wrong hard to say
Avatar universal
oh forgot the jaw pain got really bad for a bit then just went away so not sure if it even went together with this
Avatar universal
Dear Keebster,
Hi, sorry no one answered your first post.  Glad you finally got in to see the neuro.  I'd say your relative who said mini seizures were in the family could be what's happening to you.   The EEG your doctor performed is to see if that's the situation.  If so, it's possible you may have frontal lobe epilepsy, the partial seizure type, which can cause visual disturbances or an aura, and treatment is to take a drug like phenobarbital, although there are so many causes that treatment may vary depending on which type you have.  Here are a couple links to perhaps the visual seizure you may have:



But I think what you have is "face blindness" or "prosopagnosia," which can be hereditary, or can happen from some kind of brain injury, or because of a degenerative neurological disease.  Here's some links to stuff about it:



There is a scientific group at Harvard that suspect about 2 percent of the population have face blindness, originally thought to be a rare disorder.  The research place is called "Prosopagnosia Research Centers at Harvard University" in Boston, Massachusetts.  Their website is:


Also, the National Institutes of Health sometimes conduct clinical trials for prosopagnosia, they are in Bethesda, Maryland.  This is their website:


I hope this information helps you understand what is going on.  Me, I'd be scared to death.  But as it turns out, you do not need to be afraid anymore, if you did get scared, since there is a reason for what has happened to you.  Maybe you'll be able to find some sort of online support group with people who have the "face blind" condition.  You can learn to live with it.  But if it turns out that you instead have the "mini seizures" as your relative described it, medication will help a lot.  In fact, I'd say if you do find this emotionally upsetting and it's "face blindness," a tranquilizer might help you through the beginning of coping with this and while you learn to recognize folks through other clues...like the hairstyle of one person you mentioned.  
Avatar universal
Hey thanks GG i read up on all that it really helped me get a grasp on whats going on and yeah i didnt want to say anything but its been freakin me out going from knowing everyone by face and having a hard time remembering names to now not knowing anyone by faces just the transition to understanding that can make ya think your going crazy the few that i thought i was recognizing is turning to where i think i was getting use to their hair cause wouldnt ya know they had to change their hair a few weeks back and was screwed for a few days tryin to get use to it
Avatar universal
Oh and just figured this one and to me its really odd alot of ppl i can figure out if their back is to me. not sure how that is and my only chance to try to figure out who someone is thats face to face with me and goind by face is the first instant of contact at that moment there is a vauge familierity to them but the longer i look at them in the face the less and less familier it is so iv gotten to takin a very fast glancing look at someone then constantly twiching my eyes so as to only have a very short view of the face that way least to me i have some connection not much but if i just look at them and talk its just odd feels like im talkin to a stranger but talkin to someone close its well its really odd
Avatar universal
Hi Keebster, glad the info helped you out.  I like your method of quick recognition.  Very good progress for someone so new to such a wild and crazy disability.  I suppose eventually all those close to you, you'll wind up telling them at one point or another what the situation is, and they'll announce who they are when they see ya!  And I suspect you might be able to get Social Security Disability, because you will be "legally blind," so that will help a lot with any pressure to work for a paycheck, if that turns out to be a problem for you.  I recall a very nice couple next door, the husband only had peripheral vision, and he hated mowing his lawn on account of it.  Now we hated mowing the lawn, too, because we're all tore up with disability, and so it was great having such a fellow next door, because our lawn blended in with his, so no one noticed too much our apparent lack of respectability.  I wonder, maybe there's an instructional school for the blind near you, and you might can learn how to deal with social issues, and also perhaps voice recognition, stuff like that.  I don't know.  But I just wanted to be sure to respond to your recent updates.  Thanks a lot, and best wishes, GG
Avatar universal
It wouldn't hurt to have your heart checked out. A nuclear cardiac stress test may be in order. Sometimes if a person goes into an arrythmia it reduces blood flow to the brain. This causes a sort of amnesia. Brain scans probably wouldn't show anything but if that's the case then the continued arrythmia will keep reducing blood flow.... well, you can see the pattern. Ask the Doc about a Nuc Stress Test.
Avatar universal
well i was more thinkin tryin to find a diff job one that didnt rely on workin with ppl but atm workin at a bank is not too good with the probs i have now

of all that yall have said is any of it cureable? the face thing can they fix that? or am i stuck?
Avatar universal
Ok well hm the brainwave scan came back clear also so now iv got alittle more then one week and il have that neropsycho evaluation so guess wait and see what happens with that
Avatar universal
And do that thing with the cardiologist that the poster Funquenta said.  If that's what's wrong, you won't need all this neuro stuff...they can treat you for arythmia or whatever with the heart.
Avatar universal
kk il try to get to talk with him the next time i can
but still wondering can they fix the face thing?
Avatar universal
Hey also do you think its odd that they havent taken any bloody tests
Avatar universal
or to check my vitamin levels either
Avatar universal
Hi Keebster!
Did you get the neuropsycho exam yet?  You said in your April 2 post that in a little more than a week, you'd have that, so I guess it's coming in the next few days.  The reason they haven't done a physical workup plan to look for other causes, including the heart thing that me and the other poster are keen on, is because the clues have guided them down the neurology route.  Once you get that done and if they cannot be sure of the diagnosis, then they'll go down another road.  

But what you CAN do, is go to an internal medicine doctor, which they can function as the "lead doctor" in all your health care, also known as a "family doctor," and that kind of general health doc can go ahead and give you a physical.  He would routinely do a urinalysis and draw blood (to check vit & mineral levels, sugar levels, any anemia, infection), check your heartrate, blood pressure, temperature, inquire as to the flu symptoms you had just previous to all this happening to you, and get info on family diseases (like your aunt's mini seizures), and just a whole good look at your health.  At your age, you should be seeing this internist every year or so, the same one, so he will regularly monitor what all these neuro and other specialists say, and check on how you're doing and thus will notice changes in your health.

The reason I suggest you see specifically an internal medicine physician, look in the phone book for that specific type, is because they are VERY good at diagnosing people or at least narrowing it down to, say, three choices.  They can function as your family doctor, but you need that step-up to an internal med doc, because you DO have a specific condition right now that is a little unusual.  If you set up an appointment and they cannot see you for more than two or three weeks from now, schedule it, but in the meantime you can go to the county health department, it's inexpensive and they often see you the same day, and get some basic stuff done, like blood drawn, temperature, blood pressure, history, and a brief family doc exam.  You can ask them if they can perhaps see if something health-wise might be causing this, other than neurological.

Now, you had said in a couple brief posts previously that you wondered if there was a cure, and you said that it was hard to have this vision thing becuz you deal with the public in a bank.  As to a cure, it depends on what you actually have.  If you have "face blindness," then coping skills can be taught to you and medication might help you do better, too.  If you have a heart problem, very likely they can treat you and sometimes resolve it.  Same thing if you have a virus, probably they can fix it, but could be some damage has been done.  It all depends on what the diagnosis turns out to be, which they haven't told you one quite yet.  

As to your work, as long as you are polite with the public and always smile and say, "Hello, how can I help you?" or "Hello, how are you?," then they will never know that you do not recognize them.  With your coworkers, once you have a diagnosis, then if you want to, you can explain to your supervisor what's going on, so you'll feel more comfortable with how you don't recognize everybody you work with.  People can be very understanding.  On the other hand, if your supervisor is not very nice, then you can just tell a friend in the bank about it, so you'll have SOMEone there who understands, they can back you up if anything unusual goes on.

Let us know how the neuropsych visit went, and I hope you will make an appointment with an internal medicine doc, visit him yearly, and also consider doing a "walk-in" to your county health clinic at your first opportunity in the meantime.  I think eventually all this will settle down, "stuff happens" to people all the time, and you'll either get well or learn to live with what you got, and then you can go forward again, and make plans, and enjoy life
Avatar universal
hey ah that nero test is going to be the 14th
and i told my sup and her boss before i told my family well her boss is family but still
and the other reason that im worried about workin at the bank is that my record for a drawer balance is pretty level im never outa balance more then a buck or 2 every maybe 6 months for over a year but over the past 3 months not sure whats going on iv been out large amounts iv notice that they happen when i feel like im about to fall over getting dizzy or disoriented or something like that so not sure what or how its bothering my count but i told my bosses and they asked that the next time i get one of these bad spell to just walk to the back and let it pass
and iv told by this time alot of the ppl i work with
the other reason im having a hard time at work right now is not sure y but early in the morning when its just me and like 2 or 3 others im fine but after everyone gets here and ppl start coming in the more ppl thats around me the madder i get and iv gotten to the point that iv had to walk to the back
same reason im not going out on the weekends cant stand being around more then a few ppl i just get so mad, pissed and just in a dreadful mood

but anyway il go talk with a doc in town that iv seen off and on for a couple years have him try to look at that stuff see if everything there is ok
Avatar universal
Ok just got back from the test it was long was up there from 8:30 to 3:00 i dont have any of the results yet they said they would get it all together and would give it to my other doc and he would talk to me about it but if after that i wanted to have a more detailed view of all the results from all the tests i could call back and get a time to come talk with them again so guess just more waiting
Avatar universal
well still no news but got another thing iv not slept more then 4 hours a night if im lucky in the past 2 weeks maybe more not sure
iv never slept much even as a very young kid and there would be a day or two where i would get really none but never this long i think it may be causing me to have sudden outbursts iv nearly flipped out at work quite a few times in that time frame and did flip out at my boss today for no reason told her what she could do with the job and that i could couldnt care less not sure thats whats causing it but its the only new thing that i can think of
Avatar universal
oh and no iv not talked to my normal doc for nearly a month so iv not gotten to tell him this yet
Avatar universal
Hello there Keebster,
Thanks for all the updates, and really glad you got the neurological workup done.  Gosh, it takes forever to get some feedback, tho, doesn't it?  The wheels of medicine turn slowly.  Plez go ahead and make an appointment for followup with the neuro people, by the way.  The reason I say that is because sometimes it takes a long time to get in to see someone, and also it will help keep anybody from dropping the ball on all this.  In addition, I think you should also go ahead and make an appointment with your regular doc, so when the results come in, you'll be all set to go see him, and you can also discuss with him your recent emotional and sleeping obstacles.  

I just think you ought to be scheduled on the books with both the neuro and family doc people pretty much all the time for a while.  And, you know, could be your regular doc might want to hook you up with a psychologist, they are great to have on hand, to talk about what is happening to yourself.  Just the other day, I nearly lost it at the dental office, and immediately went upstairs to a psychologist on call (I go to a free clinic), and gosh, it really helped me compose myself and regain perspective.

Let's see, you've been getting super frustrated and you're not sleeping well.  Until you can get in to see the docs, I have a few suggestions, if you like.  Me, I broke my back in a car wreck, and so I became a frustrated personage, indeed, on account of I live with chronic pain.  It has taken me years to get some small control of my emotions.  One day I simply realized that, while I have good reason to be upset, the most important thing I can do with my life is to help other people.  I threw out the window any concerns and self-consciousness about how I'm doing, and instead concentrated on how everybody else is doing, by comforting and putting at ease my fellow man.

One of the best ways to relieve tension is to be physically active.  Oh, back when I used to be able to do stuff (I'm older now), I had a morning exercise program that I had a stretch routine, did a few miles on my stationary bike, lifted weights, and then after work, I went to self-defense classes for a good workout, took long walks twice a week in parks, and I also had a weekend job working with dogs for hours and hours.  By doing all these things, I was able to vent all sorts of pent-up pressure, my muscles stayed good and relaxed all the time, and getting angry became less of an issue, along with my switch in thinking outward instead of inward.

In addition, lots of exercise, good food, and staying well hydrated, all help sleep.  But I, too, have always tossed and turned, I'm just kind of naturally wound up, you know, like you.  So, I learned a trick that let me fall asleep really fast.  Of course I had a bedtime routine, always had a book to read, but sometimes my brain would not shut down.  So, I kept a small notebook with a pen hooked to it, and if my thoughts would race, I'd scribble down whatever the heck was on my mind, and lo and behold, just by putting it out on a paper like that, the thoughts went away, and I could go right to sleep.

On your job situation, as soon as you get a diagnosis, and discuss with the docs the trouble you're having at work, and so on and so forth, give it a shot to apply for Social Security Disability.  It takes a while to get it, but if you've got docs in your corner, and you match up what you got with one of the items on the Social Security Administration's online list of disabilities (like legally blind or something like that), it is well worth the time and effort for you to get the forms from the SS offices, fill them out, get some help with it if you need to, and apply.  Sometmes people get turned down on the first go, at which point you definitely should have an attorney on board to help you with the appeal, and go at it all over again.  In this manner, you can hopefully get benefits, but keep in mind it may take a year or more to get them!  Long time, so you have to have a job backup plan in place.

At your work, you have already explained to everybody what's going on, and they're doing what they can to keep you on board.  You should also do everything you can to keep the job, despite all the goof-ups that are bound to come your way.  You could even ask your boss if maybe working in another part of the bank can be arranged as part of your hours, so you won't be in the public eye quite so much.  In the meantime, if there is anything else you enjoy doing that doesn't involve working with people, start thinking about a new career.  You could learn something new by attending classes at night, or get imaginative and think about stuff you're just naturally good at.  Like me, I type fast and accurate, so I've always been able to find a job doing that.  The Employment Security Commission is also a great resource to find a job that better fits your needs, you might could go down there and begin looking for a new job, while you're still working at your old one, of course.

I look forward to hearing from you again, hope you can hang in, and I also will really be interested in what the docs think of your situation, whenever they finally get it together to talk with you!  
Avatar universal
ok still have no info on that nero psycho evaluation iv called three times

also went to the doc about not sleepin in the past near 2 months
il get maybe an hour and ever 10 or 12 days i may have one night i get 4 or 6
6 hours is about normal maybe alittle more maybe alittle less
got some ambien cr  first time i took them 20 min i started getting lightheaded confused felt like me or the room was spining slured speech poor coordination couldnt type on my keyboard words was very hard to read looked blurry when i took a closer look at them they looked like they was moving on the page and i could of swore i was hearing a man and a woman talkin to me went to get to bed and fell into, wasnt sleepy but was just fed up with all the problems doc put me on restoril now il take it tonight and see what happens
Avatar universal
Ok next day next pill the Restoril didnt do a thing i was up walkin around upto 2 hours after takin the pill even drove my car cause of a really big storm moving in and that was at like 11:15 i took the pill at 9:05 but thats the same with ambien i never got sleepy with it either im not sure how i got to sleep with the ambien but i didnt get much if any with Restoril
Avatar universal
Glad you're back and still alive... driving around in the middle of the night in a thunderstorm, eh?  Hmmm.  That's kinda wild!  Don't do that again, plez.  

On the Ambien, I am assuming you took it right before you went to bed... if you take it any earlier, like a couple hours before bedtime, of course you'll get dizzy if you're up and about.  And sorry the Restoril didn't do the job this time.  Maybe next time.  

I have a tip you can try.  Today is Thursday.  Don't know if you're going to work today or not, but if I were you, I'd take off a few days and make it a long weekend.  Then try to sleep during the day, after taking your medicine.  Sometimes sleeping in the daytime can help with folks who have bad nerves.  I had a health problem that kept me from sleeping for a few months, I almost went around the bend, and when I finally got diagnosed and was given medicine, I came home from the doc and took my drugs, it was around 3pm in the afternoon, and I got comfortable on the couch and was watching TV, and passed out.  I slept straight through until 11am the next morning.  I had vivid nightmares, on account of I hadn't slept for so long, but when I finally woke up, gosh I felt SO much better.

This sleep thing you're having, and you say you've had since childhood, I have no idea what is causing this, except your aunt having a similar problem to yours which she described as mini seizures, but I wonder if you are a person who is active enough, because if you go outdoors a lot and exercise and do physical stuff, you'll sleep better.  You should also not consume too much caffeinated drinks or eat a lot before you go to bed.  Me, I quit eating around 7pm at the latest, and I go to sleep around 10pm.  

But could be this neurological or cardiology health issue is what's keeping you up.  If your heart is beating too fast all the time, you'll get jumpy.  And if your nerves are shot, it's hard to sleep.  I'm in agreement with you, tho, on the issue of lack of sleep affecting your mood, blowing up at work.  I hope you will get some sleep soon, that ain't right.  Now, if this keeps up, and you feel kinda crazy, you know, if you start hallucinating and freak out and all that jazz, PLEZ go right on down to the hospital and check yourself into the ER, tell them you haven't slept in X-amount of days, and beg them to keep you in there until you've slept 8 hours straight.  Also tell them your medical history, the best you can, the flu you had, how you can't see faces, and the meltdowns at work.

One other thing, you had said the neurology report would be given to your "other doctor."  And I had suggested you make an appointment with both that doc and your neurology doc right then and there, so you'll be set when the results come in.  You have to have a scheduled time to come in ON THEIR BOOKS, or your report results won't get to you.  I hope you are scheduled to go in and see both docs, you've got to do that.  But you did say you went to the doc to get help with sleep... I don't know which doc you were referring to on that, but maybe he can look into where your report has gone.  A month is waaaaay too long for the results.

Keeb, it sounds to me like you're coming apart and I'm really getting worried about you now.  Keep us posted, but more importantly, stay in touch with your docs, and keep in mind that if worse comes to terrible, get thee to the ER.
Avatar universal
I had mentioned the not sleeping to the nerologists office and they said i first needed to talk with my family doc so i got an appointment with my family doc "Bruce" and talked to him about sleepin.    and about that kid thing i slept as a kid just not much just but i did get sleepy and i would goto bed eventually just now i dont get sleepy.     and bruce told me to take them an hour before i went to be and that i needed to in getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep so i figured take the pills at 9 pm so i would be sleeping by 10 pm so i can wake up at 6 am then next morning.      and i got elavil and took it at 9 also didnt feel tired at all till maybe 1230am or 1am and i didnt feel really sleepy just kinda tired and a very little bit sleepy so i dont know if the pills was working or not.    and im trying to get an appointment with the nerologist doc hes the one going to get the results back from that evaluation but they keep saying that i dont need to come in untill they get the results back so i just keep calling and keep getting told not yet
Avatar universal
mm and also so normallly i have a normal heart rate when i go to a docs office it spikes but it will drop back down near normal so when i went to talk to my family doc "Bruce" about not sleeping nurse too my blood and it was like 162ish over 98
i went to talk to mom and dad and had mom take my blood pressure and it was 150ish over 98ish and that was a few hours after the visit i would of figured it would of calmed down to about normal which is about high 120s to mid 130s over upper 80s
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