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Body integrity identity disorder crosses culture: case reports in the Japanese and Chinese literature

Authors Blom R, Vulink N, van der Wal S, Nakamae T, Tan Z, Derks EM, Denys D

Received 21 December 2015

Accepted for publication 12 March 2016

Published 16 June 2016 Volume 2016:12 Pages 1419—1423

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S102932

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Xiang Mou

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder


Rianne M Blom,1 Nienke C Vulink,1 Sija J van der Wal,1 Takashi Nakamae,1–3 Zhonglin Tan,1,4 Eske M Derks,1 Damiaan Denys1,5

1Department of Psychiatry, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; 2Department of Psychiatry, Graduate School of Medical Science, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, 3Department of Neural Computation for Decision-Making, ATR Brain Information Communication Research Laboratory Group, Kyoto, Japan; 4Department of Psychiatry, Hangzhou Mental Health Center, Hangzhou, People’s Republic of China; 5Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Abstract: Body integrity identity disorder (BIID) is a condition in which people do not perceive a part of their body as their own, which results in a strong desire for amputation or paralyzation. The disorder is likely to be congenital due to its very early onset. The English literature describes only Western patients with BIID, suggesting that the disorder might be merely prevalent in the West. To scrutinize this assumption, and to extend our knowledge of the etiology of BIID, it is important to trace cases with BIID in non-Western populations. Our objective was to review Chinese and Japanese literature on BIID to learn about its presence in populations with a different genetic background. A systematic literature search was performed in databases containing Japanese and Chinese research, published in the respective languages. Five Japanese articles of BIID were identified which described two cases of BIID, whereas in the Chinese databases only BIID-related conditions were found. This article reports some preliminary evidence that BIID is also present in non-Western countries. However, making general statements about the biological background of the disorder is hampered by the extremely low number of cases found. This low number possibly resulted from the extreme secrecy associated with the disorder, perhaps even more so in Asian countries.

Keywords: amputation, cross-cultural comparison, apotemnophilia, treatment, phenomenology, genetics

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