Apotemnophilia: a neurological disorder

Neuroreport. 2008 Aug 27;19(13):1305-6. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e32830abc4d.


Apotemnophilia, a disorder that blurs the distinction between neurology and psychiatry, is characterized by the intense and longstanding desire for amputation of a specific limb. Here we present evidence from two individuals suggestive that this condition, long thought to be entirely psychological in origin, actually has a neurological basis. We found heightened skin conductance response to pinprick below the desired line of amputation. We propose apotemnophilia arises from congenital dysfunction of the right superior parietal lobule and its connection with the insula.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amputation, Surgical / psychology*
  • Electrodes
  • Extremities / physiopathology
  • Galvanic Skin Response / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Nervous System Diseases / psychology*
  • Skin / physiopathology
  • Somatosensory Disorders / physiopathology