Former Iowa woman suffers ‘face blindness’

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MONTICELLO, Iowa (AP) - Tara Fall, of Menifee, Calif., can see just fine following a stroke she suffered some years earlier. She just can’t recognize faces; not even those of her husband, children or mother, she told a crowd Friday at Loras College in Dubuque.

Fall, 38, grew up with epilepsy in the nearby small eastern Iowa city of Monticello, eventually undergoing surgery that put an end to her seizures. But a subsequent stroke led her to gradually developed prosopagnosia - the neurological disorder also known as “face blindness” - the Dubuque Telegraph Herald reported (http://bit.ly/1iGWeTv ).

The first time she understood how bad her condition had become, she said, was when she helped an elderly lady at work - and failed to recognize the woman as her mother.

She no longer recognizes her husband, Ronald, and their two daughters, ages 13 and 11. She doesn’t even recognize herself, she said.

“I see pictures of myself, and I don’t know who I am,” she said.

Fall’s husband wears a yellow Iowa Hawkeyes cap, so she can find him in a crowd. She says she finds her daughters based on the clothes they wear.

“They don’t see it as different,” Fall said of her family. “It’s just … who I’ve been.”

Jackie Russ, a Loras junior majoring in biology research and neuroscience, was among about 50 who attended Fall’s presentation.

“At least for me, it’s really hard to fathom,” Russ said.

Fall will speak next week to students at Clarke University in Dubuque, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

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Information from: Telegraph Herald, http://www.thonline.com

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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