Health and Medicine

Woman Temporarily Loses Her Synesthesia After Being Struck By Lightning

Synesthesia has to be one of the strangest quirks of the human mind. Found in just 2-4 percent of the population in up to 60 different forms, this neurological condition causes a sensation to be experienced by two or more of the senses simultaneously, in what’s described as a “union of the senses.” You might be able to smell colors or even see music, for example.

One woman’s experience with the condition took an even more bizarre turn when a lightning strike, along with a string of other unique experiences, appeared to temporarily stop or alter her synesthetic experiences.

Her remarkable story is now giving scientists a brand new insight into the nature of this fascinating phenomenon, as detailed in a recent case study featured in the European Journal of Neuroscience.

The 21-year-old woman, only referred to under the pseudonym AB, reported that since childhood she sees “projected visual colors” when she hears particular musical notes, chords, or instruments and strongly associates people with different colors. She was also ambidextrous and able to play a handful of instruments.

However, her experiences of synesthesia began to change following a series of unfortunate events in her early adulthood, including several concussions, migraines, contracting viral meningitis, and, unbelievably, a lightning strike.

“She’s unofficially the unluckiest girl alive,” Kevin Mitchell, lead researcher and neurogeneticist at Trinity College Dublin, told The Atlantic.

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