Scientist Seeks Help for the Hopelessly Lost
Brain disorder causes people to get lost even in their own homes
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2009 9:48 AM CDT
People with a newly-discovered brain disorder completely lack the ability to find their way from one place to another.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – A Canadian neuroscientist has discovered a brain disorder that causes sufferers to spend their lives hopelessly lost even in their own neighborhoods, reports the Canadian Press. People with developmental topographical disorientation utterly lack the ability to form mental maps and orient themselves, leaving them with no idea how to navigate a route from one place to another. Some sufferers use GPS constantly, while others have arranged their lives so that they never have to travel except in straight lines.

"Even if it's a very familiar environment, unless they follow exactly the same pattern as soon as they deviate even a few steps from it, they're lost," the neuroscientist explains. "Because they're not able to imagine themselves walking from one place to another." The researcher, who has found hundreds of people with the disorder, has created a test to check for it and aims to devise brain exercises to help sufferers start finding their way.