The mystery of Alice in Wonderland syndrome - BBC

The mystery of Alice in Wonderland syndrome - BBC

The mystery of Alice in Wonderland syndrome - BBC
Mar 14, 2023 1 min, 4 secs

A surprising number of people experience symptoms of this curious condition, which is named after Lewis Carroll's heroine, who changed size after eating and drinking

After returning from school one day, Josh, who is from Canberra, Australia, told his mother how "his teachers' faces became bigger, out of proportion to their bodies and the walls of the schoolroom got elongated and further away from him".

"Perception is not a passive process of merely seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting or smelling," says Moheb Costandi, a London-based neuroscientist and writer who discusses Alice in Wonderland syndrome in his book Body Am I.

A wide range of causes have been suggested for Alice in Wonderland syndrome in both children and adults, including strokes, brain tumours, aneurysms, viral infections, epilepsy, migraines, eye diseases and psychiatric disorders such as depression and schizophrenia.

Jan Dirk Blom, a professor of clinical psychopathology at Leiden University in the Netherlands, who is one of the few researchers who has dedicated himself to studying Alice in Wonderland syndrome, emphasises the need for doctors to take patients describing these symptoms seriously.

These suggest that Alice in Wonderland syndrome may be caused by a dysfunction of a region of the brain called the temporo-parietal-occipital junction, where visual and spatial information are combined with signals about touch, body position and pain.

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