Kluver-Bucy Syndrome

The Klüver-Bucy syndrome describes a change in emotional expression behavior. This is essentially processed in the limbic system. Damage leads to strong behavioral changes.

What is Kluver-Bucy Syndrome?

The causes of Kluver-Bucy syndrome include lesions in the brain. In particular, it affects the areas that are in the immediate vicinity of centers of emotional experience. See AbbreviationFinder for abbreviations related to Kluver-Bucy Syndrome.

The Klüver-Bucy syndrome was named after its authors Heinrich Klüver and Paul Bucy. Heinrich Klüver was a German-American neuroscientist and Paul Bucy an American neuropathologist. Together they investigated behavioral changes in primates caused by brain lesions.

In 1936, they succeeded in demonstrating an effect on emotional expression behavior in an animal experiment. They carried out their lesion experiments on monkeys. They surgically removed both of their temporal lobes. As a result, the primates exhibited hyperoral as well as hypersexual behavior.

The test animals lost the sense of their own need relevance. They put everything in their mouths without being able to differentiate what the consequences might be. Her sexual behavior changed immensely. Mating behavior increased excessively. The animals were restless and showed hyperactivity. In humans, comparable symptoms are seen in Klüver-Bucy syndrome.

It leads to failures in the processing of emotions of all kinds. This has a corresponding impact on emotional expression behavior. Symptoms can also occur when areas of the brain related to the temporal lobes are affected. In particular, lesions of the amygdala change the emotional experience immensely.

Causes

The causes of Kluver-Bucy syndrome include lesions in the brain. In particular, it affects the areas that are in the immediate vicinity of centers of emotional experience. The limbic system is primarily concerned with the development of emotional events.

In Kluver-Bucy syndrome there is a direct connection with the removal of the temporal lobes. These are located in the immediate vicinity of the limbic system. However, the research found that lesions from adjacent brain regions also produced comparable results. Damage to the amygdala also leads to changes in emotional processing.

Fear and anxiety stimuli in particular are processed here and appropriate behavior is prepared. They serve as protection in dangerous situations. Lesions in the area of ​​the temporal lobes and the limbic system can result from other various underlying diseases. Herpes simplex encephalitis and circulatory disorders in the brain should be mentioned here.

Brain atrophy, i.e. age-related tissue loss, is also considered to be the cause of the syndrome. In addition, Klüver-Bucy syndrome can result from traumatic brain injuries after accidents or operations. Tumor diseases in the area of ​​the limbic system, hippocampus or the temporal lobe also cause the syndrome.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

One of the symptoms of the Klüver-Bucy syndrome is a change in social behavior. Excessive behavior can be observed. This ranges from excessive eating and drinking to aggressiveness with food and fluid restriction. Hypersexual behavior was also observed.

The changes in emotional experience clinically show the lack of emotional empathy. The expression of emotions is greatly altered or absent. It can lead to impairment or loss of sensations such as anxiety or fear. Sufferers of Kluever-Bucy syndrome show a tendency that causes oral hyperactivity.

Objects in the environment are examined with the mouth. The oral exploration behavior takes place very excessively. Existing emotions can quickly turn from fear to aggression. Regulating the emotions is no longer sufficiently possible for the person concerned. Those affected show hypermetamorphosis.

Significantly more stimuli are taken into account than under normal circumstances. Optical agnosia occurs in some cases. This is what is known as soul blindness, in which what is visually perceived can no longer be identified.

Diagnosis & course of disease

The diagnosis is made after an extensive medical examination. This is followed by behavioral observations. In addition, the functionality of the individual brain regions is examined using magnetic resonance imaging.

Complications

The Klüver-Bucy syndrome leads to significant changes in behavior. These changes usually have a very negative effect on the life of those affected and their social contacts. This can lead to exclusion or bullying and teasing. The quality of life is significantly restricted and reduced by the Klüver-Bucy syndrome.

In most cases, this results in very aggressive behavior. This occurs especially when the person concerned is denied liquid or food. Furthermore, the patients often suffer from hyperactivity and are often no longer able to follow at school and suffer from concentration disorders. This can lead to significant limitations and complaints during development.

It is not uncommon for those affected to suffer from anxiety or sweating. The surrounding area is often probed with the tongue, which can lead to various infections and inflammations. In many cases, no treatment of Klüver-Bucy syndrome is possible.

The symptoms can possibly be limited and reduced with the help of various therapies. In most cases, however, complete healing is not possible. In many cases, the parents and relatives also suffer from psychological problems and therefore need psychological treatment.

When should you go to the doctor?

People who show a strong behavioral abnormality in direct comparison to the norm need medical care. Excessive appearance, overreactions when dealing with people from the social environment or highly sexual behavior are warning signs that point to a mental disorder. A doctor’s visit is necessary as soon as the person concerned shows hypersexuality and has other sex partners several times a day or week. With an intensive intake of food and at the same time aggressive behavior, a doctor is needed.

In many cases, depending on their current condition, sufferers show a lack of insight into the illness. Therefore, relatives or other persons of trust are often obliged to carefully point out discrepancies to the person concerned. It is advisable to consult a doctor beforehand so that the right steps for successful treatment can be initiated. Oral fixation or oral hyperactivity indicate a discrepancy.

If adults examine nearby objects in detail with their tongues or if they increasingly put various objects in their mouths into their mouths, a doctor’s visit is required. Sick people perceive more stimuli than healthy people. Nevertheless, it is not possible for them to adequately process the sensory stimuli they have received. Therefore, a doctor should be consulted if the person concerned cannot identify everyday objects as such.

Treatment & Therapy

The treatment of Kluver-Bucy syndrome is very complex. A complete healing could not take place until today. The lesions in the individual brain areas are usually irreparable. To date, medical research has not been able to find a way to regrow or repair damaged tissue in the brain.

Replacement by transplantation is also currently not possible. For this reason, individual therapy is carried out with the focus on alleviating existing symptoms. This depends on the type and extent of the tissue damage. Eating habits are monitored on a daily basis.

Drugs are used to act on symptoms such as hypersexuality. If seizures occur, these are also treated with medication. Medication is also used for other psychotic symptoms. Most people suffering from Klüver-Bucy syndrome are treated as inpatients.

A lack of fear or shame is just as unmanageable in everyday life as sudden irritability or aggression. This can lead to danger for yourself and fellow human beings. Hyperoral behavior cannot be controlled. The only way to minimize the oral tendency is to administer various medications.

Outlook & Forecast

The prognosis of Klüver-Bucy syndrome is unfavorable. To this day, scientists and researchers have not succeeded in finding a way of healing or freedom from symptoms. The lesions in the brain are irreparable and do not allow the patient to recover. In addition, the syndrome often occurs in combination with other disorders that contribute to a deterioration in general health.

The treatment of a sick person is just as extensive and extremely complex as the symptoms. Through various therapeutic approaches, successes are achieved and improvements are made in individual areas. However, recovery is not possible. Behavior should be optimized in therapy so that interpersonal contact with relatives is made possible. Long-term therapy is used in one treatment. Discontinuation of the prescribed medicines lead to an immediate relapse and can trigger life-threatening complications. Taking the medication can trigger additional side effects that must be taken into account when making an overall prognosis.

If the Klüver-Bucy syndrome is diagnosed, the patient must be hospitalized. Without special therapy, there is a risk of self-harm and an increase in existing symptoms. In addition, due to his behavioral peculiarities, the patient poses a danger to other people and therefore needs to be under appropriate supervision.

Prevention

Preventive measures cannot be taken with Klüver-Bucy syndrome. This syndrome arises as a result of other underlying diseases. Since it is a consequence, it is not possible to take measures in advance or to carry out appropriate check-ups as with other diseases.

If one of the underlying diseases already exists, you can look for changes and clues by observing your own emotional experience. Attention should be paid to signs such as the intensity of emotions and expressive behavior. In Klüver-Bucy syndrome, there is a lack of emotion and hyperactivity at the same time.

Aftercare

As a rule, the aftercare measures for Klüver-Bucy syndrome are severely limited or are not available to the person concerned. In the case of this disease, a comprehensive diagnosis and treatment is primarily necessary so that the symptoms can no longer worsen. For this reason, a doctor should be contacted as soon as the first symptoms and signs of the disease appear.

The damage to the brain in this disease is usually irreparable, so that a complete cure of this disease can no longer occur. In their lives and in everyday life, those affected are therefore dependent on permanent help and support from their own family and from friends and acquaintances. Intensive and loving conversations are often necessary to prevent possible psychological upsets or depression.

Cramps can be relieved with medication. The person concerned should always pay attention to the correct dosage and also to taking the medication regularly. If anything is unclear or if you have any questions, you should first consult a doctor. As a rule, the life expectancy of those affected by the Klüver-Bucy syndrome is significantly reduced, so that they die relatively early.

You can do that yourself

The possibilities for self-help are very limited for patients with Klüver-Bucy syndrome. The damage to the temporal lobes is considered incurable and cannot be changed even with self-help measures.

The patient’s behavior is abnormal and uncontrollable. The feeling of fear is almost non-existent and the instinctual behavior cannot be controlled by one’s own efforts. In everyday life, only a good relationship of trust with relatives and medical professionals can stop the self-harming behavior of the patient. In many cases, however, family members require comprehensive psychological care in order to be able to better deal with the patient.

The emotional burden on people from the social environment of someone with Klüver-Bucy syndrome is enormous. Everyday life must be geared to the symptoms of the disease. It is advisable for the relatives to offer stress-relieving methodsto use. Due to the tissue damage in the brain, the patient lacks insight into the disease and opportunities to change his behavior. The lack of understanding and the tendency to examine everything by mouth triggers interpersonal problems and increases the risk of illness. Constant monitoring and care of the patient is necessary to ensure that they do not get into a life-threatening situation. The entire environment should be designed to improve the patient’s quality of life.

Kluver-Bucy Syndrome