Your Identity Card
May 11 (CBS HealthWatch) The key to finding yourself may be in the right frontal lobe, a new study suggests. Bruce Miller, MD, a neurologist at the University of California in San Francisco, first became interested in the subject when he noticed dramatic personality changes in patients of his who had a rare type of memory disorder called frontotemporal dementia. He recalls how one high-powered real estate agent quickly downscaled her tastes even though she still had plenty of money.
"Her preference for fine dining in French restaurants turned into a love of fast food," Miller says.
Investigating further, Miller and colleagues examined 72 patients with the same type of dementia. Of the seven who had major changes to their personality, six patients demonstrated severe abnormalities in the brain's right frontal lobe. The other patient had significant damage in the right temporal lobe, which is close by. Out of 65 patients whose personalities were not affected, only one showed severe damage in this region.
"This research shows that one area of the brain controls much of our sense of self, and damage to that area can dramatically change who we are," says Miller.
The research was presented at 53rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Philadelphia