- The term macrosomatognosia comes from the Greek words makros (large), soma (body), and gnosis (insight). It translates roughly to 'experiencing the body as larger'. The term was introduced in or shortly before 1963 by the Dutch neurologist Joseph Antonius Maria Frederiks to denote a disorder of the body scheme in which either a part of the body, or the body as a whole, is experienced as disproportionally large. The phenomenon itself was described as early as 1905 by the French neurologist Pierre Bonnier (1861-1918), in the context of what he called " aschematia. When the whole body is experienced as enlarged, the expressions "whole body macrosomatognosia and total body macroso-matognosia are used. When one or more parts of the body are experienced as enlarged, the term " partial macrosomatognosia is used. Frederiks lists three general characteristics of macroso-matognosia, i.e.1) its paroxysmal character,2) its occurrence in both halves of the body, and3) its occurrence in the unclouded mind. Macro-somatognosia may present as an isolated symptom, as part of an " aura, as part of a cluster of symptoms called the "Alice in Wonderland syndrome, or as part of the cluster of symptoms designated as " schizophrenia. Etiologically, it is associated with a variety of conditions including epileptic seizures, migraine, " delirium, " delirium tremens, alcohol withdrawal, toxoplasmosis or typhoid infections, mesencephalic lesions, and intoxication with " hallucinogens such as LSD and mescaline. Macrosomatognosia may also occur as a transient phenomenon in " hypnagogic states. It is generally classified as a "body schema illusion or as a type of somatognosia. The term macrosomatognosia is used in opposition to the term " microsomatognosia.ReferencesBonnier, P. (1905). L'aschématie. Revue Neurologique, 13, 605-609.Frederiks, J.A.M. (1963). Macrosomatognosia and microsomatognosia. Psychiatry, Neurology and Neurosurgery, 66, 531-536.Podoll, K., Robinson, D. (2000). Macrosomatognosia and microsomatognosia in migraine art. Acta Neurologica Scandinavica, 101, 413-416.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.