Klüver-Bucy syndrome: symptoms, causes and associated disorders

The proper functioning of our brain allows our body to function properly and allows us to adapt and respond to the environment around us. like that, we can regulate and organize our behavior in order to make it functional and allow us to meet our needs.

However, it is sometimes possible to suffer serious injuries or disorders that can lead to the appearance of various symptoms that prevent us from functioning and adapting and which can lead us to situations of great danger. This is the case with Klüver-Bucy syndrome, Which we will talk about in this article.

    Klüver-Bucy syndrome

    It is named after a set of Klüver-Bucy syndrome symptoms associated with destruction of certain areas of the brain, Existing both in humans and in monkeys (in fact, it was discovered by Heinrich Klüver and Paul Bucy during experimentation with apes) and with serious consequences in the daily functioning of those who suffer from it .

    The main symptoms of this disorder are the presence of a lack of fear of the stimuli that should generate, lack of risk assessment, gentleness and obedience alongside hypersexuality indiscriminate, overeating (subject eats excessively and with a lack of control over ingestion, and may even ingest inedible objects and materials such as plastics), hyperoralism or a tendency to explore everything with the mouth, hypermetamorphosis or tendency to overexcite before any visual stimuli already imitate it, lack of visual recognition or agnosia and memory impairments.

    Language problems or aphasia can also occur. They often show anger or rage, but express it in a placid and seemingly reactive manner.

    This set of symptoms has a great impact on the daily life of those who suffer from it, affecting their life in areas such as work, personal relationships, family or even the basic activities of daily living. It is a very limiting syndrome that requires treatment and indicates the existence of injury or some kind of brain injury.

    Causes of the disorder

    Unlike other disorders and syndromes, in which the causes of their occurrence are not completely clear, Klüver-Bucy syndrome has been observed as a direct consequence of bilateral ablation or lesion of the complex of the tonsil and childbirth temporal lobes (usually the hippocampus and uncus are affected).

    This destruction explains the existence of symptomatology related to affectivity, the emission or inhibition of emotional responses and dealing with aggression and sexuality, among others. The alteration or destruction of the inferior temporalis, where the visual associative zones are located, explains the frequent presence of agnosia at the visual level.

    In short, it causes all of the symptoms mentioned above both by destroying the area in charge of these functions and by stopping the flow of information that other areas must integrate.

    Disorders in which it appears

    While the causes of Klüver-Bucy syndrome are bilateral brain damage in the amygdala and the temporal complexThis injury can appear in a large number of situations, medical conditions and disorders in which neuronal degeneration occurs. It may be useful to know some of them, especially the following.

    1. Craniocerebral trauma

    Depending on the area of ​​the brain affected and the damage that occurs, a traumatic brain injury can lead to Klüver-Bucy syndrome.

    2. Stroke

    Brain hemorrhages and / or ischemias are also a common cause of Kluver-Bucy syndrome. Destruction, drowning or compression of neurons in different areas of the brain, if administered bilaterally into the temporal and tonsillar complex, could lead to the development of this syndrome.

    3. Herpetic encephalitis

    Herpetic encephalitis, an infection of the nervous system caused by retrograde transmission of the herpes virus to brain tissue (Frequently affecting this infection in the temporal lobe), is also a cause associated with Klüver-Bucy syndrome. In fact, it is considered to be its most common cause.

    4. Temporary epilepsy

    Epilepsy is a disorder that can greatly affect those who have it and is also one of the most common causes of this syndrome. Hyperactivation of neural bundles it can cause neuronal destruction and the appearance of this syndrome. While during a seizure it is possible that it may appear temporarily, the more epileptic seizures increase your risk of becoming more permanent.

      5. Dementias

      Kluver Bucy’s Syndrome Commonly Occurs in Neurodegenerative Diseases like dementias. In dementias, neurons degenerate, stop functioning, and gradually die. When this condition is damaged by the storm, this syndrome often appears.

      The most prototypical case is that of Alzheimer’s disease, in which it is common to find Klüver-Bucy syndrome in the 3rd or last phase, in which the maximum deterioration of the brain occurs, with most mental capacities. diminished (already he does not recognize those around him or himself in front of the mirror, he mutates slowly and ceases his movement, his language is profoundly altered) and there is a total dependence on survival which ends in death of the patient. It also appears in frontotemporal dementias or Pick’s disease.

      6. Anoxic-ischemic encephalopathy

      Anoxia or lack of oxygen in the brain causes neuronal death. What if it occurs in the areas indicated above, can lead to the appearance of Klüver-Bucy syndrome.

      7. Meningitis

      Another cause of this disorder is meningitis or inflammation of the meninges caused by infection. due to chemical changes caused by the infection and the understanding of the brain by the meninges. If, in addition to the meninges, the brain becomes inflamed, the syndrome is even more likely.

      8. Surgical injuries

      Although not common today, Klüver-Bucy syndrome can sometimes appear as a result of injuries caused during brain surgery. Especially when it is necessary to perform a resection of the two temporary lobes.

      9. Tumors

      The presence of brain tumors is also a possible cause of Klüver-Bucy syndrome. It can occur in the face of benign tumors if the storms are localized or compressed, or in the face of infiltrating malignant tumors. It is also possible that it occurs secondary to metastasis from a tumor outside the nervous system.


      Klüver-Bucy syndrome is a disorder caused by severe brain injury, There is little resilience in most cases. There is no cure for this problem. However, it is possible to establish treatments that help control symptoms and may produce improved drugs such as benzodiazepines and anticonvulsants such as carbamazepine.

      Likewise, some patients may experience improvement if the brain damage decreases. This is the case, for example, in certain head injuries or strokes (once the ischemic penumbra area has been recovered or the hemorrhage reabsorbed), in the case of certain cases of treated epilepsy or when an infection is suppressed. without causing permanent damage.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Ledo-Varela, MT; Giménez-Amaya, JM and Flames, A. (2007). The human amygdala complex and its implication in psychiatric disorders. One. Sist. Sanit. Navar .; 30 (1): 61-74.
      • Klüver, H. and Bucy, P. (1997). Preliminary analysis of the functions of the temporal lobe in monkeys. 1939. J. Neuropsychiatry Clin. Neurosciences. 9 (4): 606-620
      • Soto-Cabrera, E .; González-Aguilar, A. and Márquez-Romero, JM (2010). Klüver-Bucy syndrome secondary to medullary metastasis. Neurology; 25: 135-136. Mexico.

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