Brad Pitt says he has prosopagnosia. What is that; what are the symptoms?

In a recent interview, actor Brad Pitt said he has become withdrawn because he suffers from a neurological disorder that affects a person’s ability to recognize people they have met before.

Pitt, 58, told GQ in a recent interview that he is suffering from prosopagnosia, commonly referred to as face blindness. Although the actor has not been formally diagnosed with the disorder, he says he has for years struggled with recognizing people’s faces.

In 2013, Pitt said in an interview with Esquire that the condition was so severe that he did not want to go out in public.

“That’s why I stay home,” he said.

Pitt went on to describe the condition that leads some to think he is being conceited or rude.

“So many people hate me because they think I’m disrespecting them,” he says. “So I swear to God, I took one year where I just said, This year, I’m just going to cop to it and say to people, ‘Okay, where did we meet?’ But it just got worse. People were more offended,” he told Esquire.

“Every now and then, someone will give me context, and I’ll say, ‘Thank you for helping me.’ But I piss more people off. You get this thing, like, ‘You’re being egotistical. You’re being conceited.’ But it’s a mystery to me, man. I can’t grasp a face and yet I come from such a design/aesthetic point of view. I am going to get it tested.”

What is prosopagnosia and how does it affect a person’s ability to recognize others? Here is what we know about the disorder.

What is prosopagnosia?

Prosopagnosia, or “face blindness,” is a disorder of the brain that makes it hard or impossible for a person to recognize faces.

It also may be difficult for people with face blindness to notice differences in faces of strangers or recognize family and friends, according to faceblind.org.

In severe cases, people with the condition may not recognize their own face in a reflection.

What causes prosopagnosia?

Scientists are not sure what causes the disorder. People with prosopagnosia are either born with it or acquire it later in life.

People born with the condition do not appear to have a structural problem with the brain nor do they have lesions that would indicate a problem.

People who acquire it later in life are sometimes found to have lesions on the brain as a result of a stroke or a head injury. A study published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics suggests the condition may run in families.

How many people have prosopagnosia?

Researchers estimate that the disorder affects about 2% of the U.S. population.

Is there a treatment for prosopagnosia?

Treatment is aimed at helping those with the disorder to develop other strategies to help identify faces.

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