Mirror-touch synesthesia is a neurological condition that affects only 1.6 percent of people, and NYU Langone’s Joel Salinas, MD, MBA, is among those who have it. The unique condition causes him to feel what others feel, including physical touch and pain.
“I knew this would be a potential issue for me if I was to stay in the medical field,” Dr. Salinas tells The Telegraph. “I was going to be seeing a lot more of this, and I had to figure out how to work around it.”
Dr. Salinas is the Lulu P. and David J. Levidow Assistant Professor of Neurology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine and an expert in neurodegenerative diseases and brain health for the Center for Cognitive Neurology. When The Telegraph asks him if his condition gives him an advantage as a physician, Dr. Salinas says, “The scientist in me stands to attention at that question because I always want hard data—but there is evidence that people with mirror-touch synesthesia do seem to have higher levels of empathy, as well as higher test scores on facial recognition, and are able to identify very subtle differences in body movements. I would say that for me it has been useful—there’s an added component.”
Read more from The Telegraph.
Dr. Salinas also discusses his unique condition in a recent episode of NYU Langone and SiriusXM’s podcast Vital Signs.