Patient with real Groundhog Day syndrome: Man in his 80s has to relive the same day over and over again due to a rare condition
Wouldn’t it be miserable to relive the same experiences over and over again?
Popular movies like Groundhog Day have explored this memory phenomenon, but in a new case report, it was the reality for one man.
Investigators discovered he had a rare condition that made him think he was watching the same shows, movies, and books repeatedly.
The unnamed man, who was in his 80s, believed his eBook reader was malfunctioning and gave him the same pages to read over and over.
When he contacted the manufacturer, he was assured that everything was working normally, the report in the magazine said BMJ case reports.
A retired man in his 80s thought his Kindle was malfunctioning and gave him the same pages to read over and over. He actually suffered from déjà vécu, the persistent false sense that events are repeating themselves
MRI scans of the patient’s brain showed signs of Alzheimer’s disease
He also asked a technician to fix his television because he thought it was playing the same news repeatedly.
‘Each day is a repeat of the day before…Each [television] session is identical,’ said the patient.
“Everywhere I go, the same people are on the side of the road, the same cars behind me with the same people in them… the same person gets out of the cars wearing the same clothes, carrying the same bags, saying the same things.”
“Nothing is new.”
His family could not convince him that these were misconceptions.
The researchers described the phenomenon as déjà vécu. Unlike the more familiar déjà vu, or the feeling that something you are currently experiencing has already happened, déjà vécu is a persistent false sense that events are happening over and over again.
The patient had memory problems and a tendency to put two stories together into one. The team performed cognitive tests and scans of his brain and also found signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, a group of diseases that mark progressive and permanent cognitive decline.
The disease usually develops later in life, with 73 percent of patients diagnosed after age 75.
The researchers stated that déjà vécu was first described in 1896 as “a pathological form of déjà vu.”
Although the condition is considered rare, researchers said it has been observed in a handful of Alzheimer’s patients.
A similar one case report from 2021 described déjà vécu in an 84-year-old woman in Amsterdam, although those researchers ruled out dementia. The woman believed TV shows and live sporting events were reruns, and she would approach random people in public thinking they were acquaintances.
The patient showed no signs of improvement after treatment.
“Unlike Groundhog Day, however, déjà vécu usually doesn’t have a happy ending,” researchers wrote in the woman’s case.
In the case of the unnamed man, doctors tried to treat him with a course of immunotherapy, which is typically used in cancer cases to destroy malignant cells. The patient’s condition did not improve and he continued to show signs of Alzheimer’s disease for four years.