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Prosopagnosia: The disorder that makes Shehnaz Treasury, Brad Pitt forget faces

Prosopagnosia is also known as face blindness or facial agnosia.

June 29, 2022 / 03:12 PM IST
Actors Shehnaz Treasury and Brad Pitt have been vocal about their difficulty in recognising faces. (Image credit: @shenaztreasury/Instagram)

Actors Shehnaz Treasury and Brad Pitt have been vocal about their difficulty in recognising faces. (Image credit: @shenaztreasury/Instagram)


Actor Shenaz Treasury on Tuesday revealed that she has been diagnosed with prosopagnosia--a disorder what makes it difficult for people to remember faces.

“I have been diagnosed with prosopagnosia 2. Now, I understand why I've never been able to put faces together. It's a cognitive disorder. I always felt ashamed that I can't recognise faces. I recognise voices,” she shared on an Instagram story.

“Signs and symptoms of face blindness/prosopagnosia. 1. You have failed to recognise a close friend or family member, especially when you weren't expecting to see them. Yes, that is me. Takes me a minute to register who the person is. Sometimes even a close friend I haven't seen in a while."

The actor and travel blogger concluded by saying, “So now please understand that this is a real disorder and not me being aloof or snobbish.” Shehnaz Treasury called it a “real brain issue.”

Before her announcement, actor Brad Pitt had also revealed his struggle with the condition.

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In an interview with GQ, Pitt claimed that he may be suffering from "undiagnosed face-blindness" due to which he finds it difficult to "remember people" after meeting them at social parties.

Although he has not been formally diagnosed with the condition yet, the 58-year-old actor worries that the condition may leave those he meets with a negative impression and a reputation that he is "remote and aloof, inaccessible, self-absorbed".

What is prosopagnosia?

According to National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), US, Prosopagnosia is a neurological disorder characterized by the inability to recognize faces. Prosopagnosia is also known as face blindness or facial agnosia.

"Depending upon the degree of impairment, some people with prosopagnosia may only have difficulty recognizing a familiar face; others will be unable to discriminate between unknown faces, while still others may not even be able to distinguish a face as being different from an object.  Some people with the disorder are unable to recognize their own face," the institute stated in its website.

What causes it?

Prosopagnosia can result from stroke, traumatic brain injury, or certain neurodegenerative diseases.  In some cases it is a congenital disorder, present at birth in the absence of any brain damage. Congenital prosopagnosia appears to run in families, which makes it likely to be the result of a genetic mutation or deletion, NINDS stated.

How can it be treated?

According to UK's National Health Service (NHS), there's no specific treatment for prosopagnosia, but researchers are continuing to investigate what causes it. Training programmes are also being developed to help improve facial recognition.

"It's thought that compensatory strategies that help with person recognition, or techniques that attempt to restore normal face-processing mechanisms, may work for some people with either developmental or acquired prosopagnosia," NHS stated in its website.
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