Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lost in the moment

You leave home, walk a few blocks, and have no idea how to find your way back. Your father walks you to work for five years before you can do it on your own. You turn a corner and north-south becomes east-west.

You either have a severe drinking problem, or you have topographagnosia, a lifelong difficulty that is apparently the result of orientation skills never having been developed.

The condition, which can severely disrupt the daily lives of sufferers, was discovered by University of Calgary researcher Giuseppe Iaria. He says, “They usually realize it at school. Grade 1, they get lost going from the washroom back to class.” Cellphones and GPS often become important tools for coping.

Iaria believes it may be more common than we think. If you think you might have it, you can take a battery of online tests.

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