Some people have the inability to see faces, and it’s actually quite common.

Have you ever gone out into public, pre-quarantine, with the fear that you might recognize someone you know? No one on this planet wants to do small talk with that dude that sat behind you in geometry class in 2009, right!? Well, what if you had the inability to recognize them? There are people in this world who have a medical phenomenon called, “Prosopagnosia,” or more commonly referred to as, “Face Blindness.” These individuals lack the ability to recognize faces of even the most iconic people. And in some of the worst cases, they can’t even recognize their own face. Although this may be new information to you, this condition is actually quite common. Some studies report that 1 in 50 people have Face Blindness to some degree. 

If you have ever seen a tv show, and they blur out the faces of bystanders in the background, then you have experienced something similar to Face Blindness. The area in the brain responsible for analyzing faces as a whole does not work the way it’s supposed to, so every single time they interact with someone, they may not recognize who they are until they hear their voice. This area in the brain is called the fusiform gyrus, and it could be damaged from trauma, stroke, or infection. It can also just simply deteriorate over time. 

If you look at the picture to the left, it is kind of difficult to recognize who you are looking at. The brain has difficulty identifying the image because that is not how faces are normally processed in the brain. However, when it’s flipped, it becomes fairly obvious who we’re dealing with here. It’s not that they can’t recognize faces because they are blurry, as seen in vision disorders like Macular Degeneration. They just physically can’t process the image in their brain. While this condition is extremely fascinating, it can be quite detrimental to these individuals. 

People with this condition have reported feelings of anxiety, embarrassment, and social exclusion due to their diagnosis. People with a severe form of Prosopagnosia could be given a picture of themselves and not know who they are looking at. So, going out into public could create some awkward moments. If someone waves to you while you are at the grocery store, no matter how close, you may not know who they are. While at times I wish this was an excuse I could use to avoid social interactions, this can have great effect on forming meaningful relationships with new people. 

There isn’t a treatment for this condition either. The best way to deal with Face Blindness is to find coping mechanisms. For example, individuals with Face Blindness usually recognize people based on their hair style. While the face is unfamiliar to them, they still have the ability to process hair, or lack thereof. In an interview I watched, a person with Prosopagnosia was shown a picture of just a person’s face. Naturally, the subject did not recognize who it was. Little did they know, the face they were looking at was the person who was showing them the picture, sitting right in front of them. Im sure the majority of you could recognize at least 4 of these people, however, people with severe Prosopagnosia wouldn’t know any of them.

As I stated before, this is quite common. It appears to be a spectrum and some people can go their whole life without even knowing they have a mild form of this. But on the flip side, it can be extremely severe. Imagine going your whole life without ever knowing what your own face looks like to other people. The brain is an extremely complex organ and the more we study it, the more insight we will get on the behavior of our own species. 

@RyanLangdon_

Hydroxychloroquine has become less about the PATIENTS and more about the POLLS

I hold no political affiliation. I feel like it is important that I make that message clear before I begin. I think the far left and the far right are equally absurd and to choose one political agenda over the other, without even CONSIDERING that both sides can each have good ideas and bad ideas, is wildly closed minded to me. But that’s not the point of my message here. This is less about my affiliation with politics and more about my affiliation with the science community. It is something that I have chosen to dedicate my life to because I am attracted to its quest for the unbiased truth.

That being said, the way that politics has used Hydroxychloroquine as a campaign tool is sickening. Science will do their job with the drug. If it works, they will figure that out. If it doesn’t work, they will still figure that out. But the political community has skewed the minds of people who know literally nothing about science by publishing biased articles to support their own agenda. It went from being a drug that could potentially help save millions of people and it has turned into a tool to achieve political gain.

People are so brainwashed by politics, that people think it’s acceptable to talk like this to people who are greiving.

Honestly, the drug may work. The drug very well could be curing 100% of people, but we don’t have unbiased proof of that yet; things take time. All the stories about the drug are just reports from doctors tinkering around with their treatments on the fly. Coronavirus doesn’t have a definitive treatment plan because it’s a brand new mutation, so doctors on the front lines are being forced to experiment in the field. Hypothetically, a doctor gives Hydroxychloroquine to a patient and they get better. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it was solely the drug that made them recover. The majority of the people are getting better anyways, so who’s to say that the prayers that they have been sending aren’t curing them. I’m not saying either one is right, we just genuinely don’t have the controlled studies to support it. 

In no way do I think that doctors should stop using Hydroxychloroquine in clinical practice either, but science has and always will do their best to answer important questions. Arguing about it at the political level is only halting the momentum of the research because large media outlets on both sides of the political spectrum are pushing biased stories to help their case in this upcoming election. This medication is used for other health conditions like chronic Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis. It is used because it’s risks vs. benefits have been tested in clinical trials by people who have really big brains. So asking, “what do we have to lose?” completely neglects the fact that we could run out of the medicine and then the people who really need it, the ones it has actually been tested for, may not have access to it. So if this drug ends up being tested and it’s determined that it doesn’t work as well as other options, many people’s lives could be negatively affected by this political push to put all of our eggs in one basket. 

Like I said, I hold no political affiliation, and I am not rooting for whether the drug works or not, I just think we should all shut up about it, and let science do their job behind closed doors like it’s been doing for the last billion years. I am fearful that we are going to neglect potentially better options if we determine efficacy based strictly on empirical findings. 

I’m not trying to come across as a conspiracy theorist when I say this, but politics has brainwashed people into “choosing a side” on the drug rather than being open minded about exploring its true efficacy. That should never, EVER happen in science. You must remain unbiased and actually determine which side is correct so we can do what’s best for our PATIENTS and not for the POLLS. This doesn’t just go for Hydroxychloroquine either. At the end of the day, the patient should receive the therapy that is the most effective for their condition, rather than the drug that has the best marketing team. As my Pharmacology professor always says, “be Y.O.D.A.” You must always be Your Own Data Analyzer, and don’t just believe everything people say on the internet. Literally… question what I am saying to you. I am challenging you to research what I am saying. You may end up teaching me something.

@RyanLangdon_

Cliff Notes Of The Coronavirus (brief summary of the COVID-19 pandemic)

Everyday, thousands of articles regarding the coronavirus are being written. People are either downplaying the current situation or they are having a full blown panic attack inside their bomb shelter, sitting on a throne of toilet paper they have stockpiled. Regardless, I think it is important to understand exactly what is going on here. So, I have decided to trace this virus and give people an overall big picture of how COVID-19 is affecting the world and my toilet paperless bathroom. 

Before we discuss COVID-19, I think it is important to understand how novel viruses begin. Many of these new viruses are what we call, “Zoonotic Diseases,” meaning that they jump from animals to humans. One of the most infamous zoonotic diseases is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The first reported case was in 1959, when a man in Congo reportedly contracted HIV from a chimpanzee. Clearly the destruction of HIV is devastating, therefore taking zoonotic diseases lightly is simply the wrong way to go about this. Now, on the flip side, most novel viruses infect a few people at most and then fizzle out. Unfortunately, if it is highly contagious and picks up steam, it is extraordinarily difficult to stop it. 

The first case of COVID-19 can be traced back to November 17th, when a man in Wuhan, China likely contracted the disease from a bat. This is when the first major mistake came in. China originally thought that the virus could only be contracted from bat to human. They failed to recognize that human to human transmission was even an option at the time. Knowing what we know now, I think that China would have handled the situation a little differently. Unfortunately they did not, and the virus began to spread in similar ways as the Influenza virus. The city of Wuhan, China has a population of over 11 million people. Let me repeat that…. ELEVEN MILLION PEOPLE. They are all crammed in one city, therefore human interactions happen quite frequently. 

China still was in denial about the severity of the coronavirus, so the spread of it lost control. Some news sources even noted that China tried to hide the spread of the disease for quite some time before it became too big of an issue. The ability to fly from one continent to the next is an incredible tool for our society, however in situations like this, it can perpetuate the spread of infectious diseases. On January 19, 2020, the first case of coronavirus hit the United States. It was a 35 year old man who presented to the hospital with respiratory symptoms and fever. When asked if he had any recent travel, he reported “Wuhan, China.” From there, the outbreak in Washington began. 

The scariest part about the transmission of infectious diseases is that you can pass along the virus to people without even knowing you have it. According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the NIH, it can take up to 5.4 days to develop symptoms from the onset of your exposure. So, if you come in contact with the virus on Monday, it is likely that you will not develop the cough or fever until Saturday. Therefore, every single person you come in contact with could likely contract COVID-19. If you are one of the people that are not taking the social distancing seriously because you are asymptomatic, you could potentially be the reason behind countless transmissions. And for some people, they could be carrying the disease and never even develop any of the symptoms. 

Originally, I admittedly was not very concerned. But the more research I did, the more concerned I became. It wasn’t until I saw what was going on in Italy until my concern level rose. There are so many cases right now that they literally do not have enough space in hospitals to treat some of them. Therefore, they are being forced to choose who gets treated or not based on moral principle. If you are younger or have children, your life would most likely be spared over someone else’s. Even healthcare workers are getting sick and are being forced to continue to work. If that happens in the United States, we are literally fucked. 

The precautions being taken may seem dramatic to many, however it is necessary. If we continue to let this virus spread and fail to follow the protocol set in place by people much smarter than you and me, then we could end up in the same situation as the Italians. This article is not meant to scare anyone, it is simply just stating facts. 

This is the trajectory of the cases in the United States. It is a scary thing to look at because it does not appear to be slowing down at all. I’m less worried about the severity of the disease itself, and more worried about overwhelming ICU’s, which can lead to many more deaths. We all need to do our part in slowing down the virus, because it can (and most likely will) become a much bigger problem than it is today. Lay down, catch up on Netflix, and help reduce the transmission while the experts work on the vaccine to help our nation reduce the spread even further. 

@RyanLangdon_

How My Internal Monologue Affects My Attention Deficit Disorder

My name is Ryan Langdon and I accidently blew the minds of over 10 million people this week. It has been a wild experience. I have received thousands of messages from all types of people. I have received interview invites, messages from celebrities, and even had a little filipino man photoshop himself into pictures with me. I have heard input from a lot of you, however I feel like you guys do not know where I stand on this situation. It appears to me that having an internal monologue is a spectrum. There are some people that do not have it, which I have decided to call “hyponeurovocalism.” In contrast, there are people who have a strong internal monologue, aka “hyperneurovocalism.”

I was diagnosed and treated for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) in 2009. After this whole post blew up I realized that my inability to focus in school was caused by the inability to control my inner monologue. I could be sitting in class, trying my best to focus on what the teacher is saying, but my monologue just drifts off and I lose focus on what is being lectured. After speaking with a few people who are hyponeurovocal, I realized that they report that they do not daydream often (I know it is a small sample size). Therefore, I believe that the cause of ADD is directly related to the internal monologue. 

When it comes to ADD, no one ever talks about what goes on in their head. It is a common stereotype that individuals with Attention Deficit Disorder are distracted by shiny things, but that’s not the case at all. It’s a much more subtle thing in my experience. People only talk about what medications they are on, rather than how the disorder actually manifests inside their head. Most conversations go a little something like this:

“I have ADD”

“Me too.”

“Adderall or Vyvanse?”

“Concerta.”

“I heard Concerta sucks”

“It works for me.”

No one ever explains that no matter how hard you try to focus on something, that internal monologue will take you into a different world. There are many physicians who still do not believe that ADD is a real medical diagnosis. However, as someone that has spoken with many people on this subject and has studied medicine, I would have to respectfully disagree. 

ADD is not correlated with IQ level, rather, it is a problem with controlling that inner voice. I can drift off into another world in the blink of an eye, until I snap back to reality by the sound of my entire class typing notes. “Oh shit, I must have missed something important,” is something I have said inside of my mind many times before. If I do not take my medication, I can not read more than two sentences without my internal monologue shifting gears and talking about something unrelated. If I am reading a book, my internal monologue could be vocalizing the words, but then it can slowly transition into an entirely different topic. Although my eyes are scanning the page still, I will absorb absolutely nothing and have to restart from the point I lost focus. It is exhausting and frustrating, because as much as I want to remain attentive to the words on the page, I can not keep my thoughts anchored to a particular subject. 

My entire life, most of my learning came from outside the classroom. It takes a lot more work than people realize to teach yourself everything. I hardly absorb any information in class, therefore studying requires much more time for me. People are jealous that I have adderall, but all it does is even the playing field. I’m sure it gives hyponeurovocal people a strong advantage, however all it does is allow me to focus for more than 7 seconds without daydreaming about different scenarios in which I am saving my entire class from a masked gunman. 

I am not sure if this is how everyone else with ADD operates, however I have a strong suspicion that their experience is very similar to mine. If that is the case, then this whole inner monologue news may be a helpful screening tool in diagnosing Attention Deficit Disorder. It is a wildly misdiagnosed/undiagnosed condition. So understanding exactly what is going on inside of people’s heads could lead to a more accurate way to treat the individuals with this problem while simultaneously avoiding overdiagnosing and over treating patients who do not fit the criteria. I would like to hear how other people with ADD relate to my experience.

@RyanLangdon_

There Are People Who Are Unable To Visualize Their Thoughts

If I told you to close your eyes and picture your bedroom, I’m sure the majority of you can do that. You can probably see the color of your walls, where your bed is, and the pile of (clean?) laundry in the corner of your room. However, there are people in this world that do not have this ability. If you ask them to picture something, all they see is black. The inability to visualize something in your head is a condition called, “Aphantasia.” 

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I received many messages from people after my last post who reached out to tell me that they have Aphantasia. To this day, it remains largely unstudied considering that the name was coined only 5 years ago by a professor from England named, Adam Zeman.

Once again, I was puzzled by the lack of knowledge I had for what goes on in other people’s brain. It is crazy that people can live their whole life without knowing that they think differently from the majority of others around them. I received a message from a woman who said that, thanks to my post, her husband finally realized that he had Aphantasia. “People used to think he was crazy or a liar when he told them he couldn’t see images in his mind,” she told me.

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Now, let me put this into perspective for you. Imagine (if you can) if a loved one passes away. Your wife, brother, friend, etc. A person with Aphantasia has the inability to picture their face and their mannerisms. The majority of the world can close their eyes and remember these loved ones, however there are people out there that lack this skill set. More questions kept coming to my mind. How does it affect their day to day life, relationships, and education? So I reached out to one of my followers that told me that they have this condition to ask them a few questions.

Below is an interview with @ginger_days_

What is Aphantasia?

“Aphantasia is the lack of imagery in the mind. There’s different degrees of it for some people. For me, I just see black in my mind. Some people can vaguely see an image, faintly, however it may fade quickly. 

When did you realize you had Aphantasia and that it was not normal?

“I realized when I was young. I couldn’t picture things in my mind. But I thought everyone was the same and that when a teacher or someone told us to visualize something, I thought it was just a way of phrasing what they wanted us to do. I didn’t realize they actually meant to picture it in our mind. It wasn’t until about two years ago when I learned what Aphantasia even was.”

How did it impact your education?

“It never really impacted my schooling apart from art. I love to draw but I can’t just do it from my head. I need some sort of reference so I can check back to see what it looks like. 

Do you wish you could visualize things?

“I wish I could visualize things all the time, but I find it hard to even comprehend what that would be like.”

@ginger_days_ went on to say, “I find it hard to imagine a future because I can’t see how it would look. I can’t imagine what my girlfriend will look like when I eventually marry her. I can’t imagine what we would be like with a baby. I can’t see it. I feel a lot though. I am a very emotional person.

RNwapF7STK2K6DZJP5OUPQ_thumb_1465.jpgThere are 7,794,798,739 humans on Earth, so it is very clear that everyone is bound to think a little differently. However, it has been very eye opening to realize the huge differences that we do have that I was previously unaware of. I am just glad that this topic has resulted in so many different stories and has allowed us all to talk about our thoughts. While mental health continues to be a huge burden with most people, I am just hoping this open dialogue can make a difference. I am glad we are starting to normalize talking about what exactly is going on inside of our extremely complex minds. 

 

@RyanLangdon_

Link to my interview with a person who does not have an internal monologue.

My Thoughts On The Internal Monologue Post

My last post blew up unexpectedly, which is nice. But I feel some responsibility to try to rationalize this whole thing. I am hoping that some good can come from this realization. I hope it gives scientists a better understanding of the brain, which can eventually lead to breakthroughs in mental health. A lot of depression and anxiety stems from that “little voice in the back of your head.” I had a theory that maybe people that do not have the internal monologue could be better defended against depression. Nowadays, so many people are being diagnosed with mental illness, so maybe it is an evolutionary benefit if we are talking in terms of Darwinism. Darwin always preached that animals that survive the longest are the ones that are the best at adapting and overcoming disadvantages. So maybe it is our way of preventing unwanted deaths from suicide, addictions, and other adverse effects caused by mental illnesses. I am not saying that any of this theory holds any scientific weight at all, but it does get you thinking. This theory can easily be tested through surveys and polls, so I hope this sparks the interest of anyone with a passion for psychology/neurology. Who knows, maybe this will cause a domino effect of theories and experiments which can ultimate improve our understanding of this batshit crazy world we live in. Whatever comes out of this, I am just glad that people are using their brains and connecting with others around them. Everyone is so distracted by the external world and forgets to look inwards.

RIP KOBE.

 

@RyanLangdon_

Today I Learned That Not Everyone Has An Internal Monologue And It Has Ruined My Day.

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My day was completely ruined yesterday when I stumbled upon a fun fact that absolutely obliterated my mind. I saw this tweet yesterday that said that not everyone has an internal monologue in their head. All my life, I could hear my voice in my head and speak in full sentences as if I was talking out loud. I thought everyone experienced this, so I did not believe that it could be true at that time.

Literally the first person I asked was a classmate of mine who said that she can not “hear” her voice in her mind. I asked her if she could have a conversation with herself in her head and she looked at me funny like I was the weird one in this situation. So I began to become more intrigued. Most people I asked said that they have this internal monologue that is running rampant throughout the day. However, every once in a while, someone would say that they don’t experience this.  

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My life began to slowly spiral out of control with millions of questions. How do they get through the day? How do they read? How do they make decisions between choice A and choice B? My friend described it as “concept maps” that she sees in her brain. Another friend says that she literally sees the words in her head if she is trying to think about something. I was taking ibuprofen at this point in the day because my brain was literally unable to comprehend this revelation. How have I made it 25 years in life without realizing that people don’t think like me? 

NoUkL6drTiahwkMY0qqBJQ_thumb_13d6.jpgI posted a poll on instagram to get a more accurate assessment of the situation. Currently 91 people have responded that they have an internal monologue and 18 people reported that they do not have this. I began asking those people questions about the things that they experience and it is quite different from the majority.

I would tell them that I could look at myself in the mirror and have a full blown telepathic conversation with myself without opening my mouth and they responded as if I had schizophrenia. One person even mentioned that when they do voice overs in movies of people’s thoughts, they “wished that it was real.”

gfva7cPSQEGZvIHGIM0vlg_thumb_13e5And to their surprise, they did not know that the majority of people do in fact experience that echoey voice in their head that is portrayed in TV and film. Another person said that if they tried to have a conversation with themselves in the mirror, they would have to speak out loud because they can’t physically do it inside of their mind. 

 I started posting screenshots of these conversations on my instagram and my inbox started UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_13e2to flood with people responding to my “investigation.” Many people were reassuring me that I was not crazy for having an internal monologue, while others were as absolutely mind blown as I was. People were telling me that I ruined their day and that they now do not understand anything about life. Maybe you are all just a figment of my imagination, but regardless, yesterday made reality seem even more skewed. 

How do they think? How does this affect their relationships, jobs, experiences, education? How has this not been mentioned to me before? All of these questions started flooding my mind. Can those people without the internal monologue even formulate these questions in their mind? If they can, how does it happen if they don’t “hear” their voice? I mentioned earlier that I was spiraling out of control. Well, as I write this and as I hear my own voice in my head, I am continuing to fall down the rabbit hole. 

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Whether people just have different definitions of their thoughts, or if people literally don’t have an internal monologue, there is one thing that we do know… you will definitely get a headache if you keep thinking about this. Just trying to wrap my head around it is causing irreversible brain damage. I suggest asking people around you what they experience. If you are one of the few that do not have this internal monologue, please enlighten me, because I still do not understand life anymore. Send help.

@RyanLangdon_