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Posted: October 31, 2014

Fear of spiders surgically removed from man's brain


Cox Media Group National Content Desk

EAST SUSSEX, England —

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A 44-year-old business man had his lifelong fear of spiders abolished overnight.

The bad news?

The cure was simply an unanticipated side effect after having part of his brain surgically removed.

The magazine New Scientist released the story on Halloween citing a medical journal report that was originally published in January by Nick Medford at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School in the United Kingdom.

According to the New Scientist article, the man started having seizures and brain scans showed abnormalities in his left amygdala.

The amygdala is the center for emotions, emotional behavior, and motivation, according to the University of Texas Medical School at Houston.

It controls fear responses, the secretion of hormones, arousal and the formation of emotional memories.

Doctors determined it was necessary to remove the damaged are of the man’s left amygdala.

According to New Scientist, after successful surgery, the man soon noticed a “ ‘stomach-lurching’ aversion to music – which was particularly noticeable when he heard the song accompanying a certain TV commercial – but he also discovered he was no longer afraid of spiders.”

The report goes on to state that the man eventually got over his aversion to music, but that his arachnophobia never returned. He is able to touch and observe spiders at close range and ‘actually finds them fascinating.’

The man has reported no other changes to fears or anxieties. For example, he has the same level of anxiety about public speaking post surgery. 

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