A man has developed a rare condition that causes him to experience orgasmic sensations when he hears James Bond theme music.
It is only the second known case of a patient developing synesthesia after a stroke. The neurological condition causes the stimulation of a sense, such as hearing music, to lead to automatic, involuntary experiences in a different sense, such as seeing colours or tasting a flavour.
After a stroke in 2007, the unnamed 45-year-old man from Toronto noticed that words printed in a particular shade of blue disgusted him, according to a report by National Post. He then became aware that the sound of high-pitched voices and brass instruments — specifically, the theme music from James Bond films — triggered out-of-body, orgasmic sensations and blue flashes of light in his vision.
He said he felt as if ‘he could ride the music’.
The Toronto St. Michael’s Hospital patient specifically recalled a moment when he watched the Beijing Olympics. He said when a woman sang at the opening ceremony it triggered an overwhelming and frightening reaction.
He said: ‘I had the sensation of entering the TV, and entering the stadium and I was floating above the crowd. I could feel the heat and humidity coming off the people. I could feel it on my skin. It scared the hell out of me. I thought, "this is how you lose your mind". I was convinced I was going to go crazy.’
He was eventually referred to a behavioural neurologist, who instantly diagnosed him with synaesthesia.
Synesthesia is a condition in which one sense is simultaneously perceived as another - a person tastes sounds or feels colours. Around four per cent of people are thought to have the condition, which is eight times more common in women. Most synesthesists tend to be left-handed.
There are no dangerous side-effects to the having the condition Famous synesthesists include Marilyn Monroe, Mary J. Blige as well as the artists Kandinsky and Hockney.
The patient's stroke occurred in his thalamus - the area of the brain responsible for processing sensory information.
Experts say the process of repair after the stroke caused the brain to 'miswire', connecting areas of the brain that once never came into contact with each other.
Since the male patient's diagnosis, he has learned to control his synesthesia, saying that having a diagnosis has reassured him that his 'weird feelings' aren't a sign of madness but just a side-effect of his stroke.