You are watching: Can u live without a brain
This month a 24-year-old woman in China"s Shandong district walked into a hospital complain of nausea and dizziness, and also walked out having learned that she was absent a huge section of she brain. A CAT scan verified that her entire cerebellum, a crucial chunk of mind in fee of engine control, never ever developed. The void wherein it should have been was nothing however a swamp the cerebrospinal fluid.
How could a human live a full life not discovering so lot of her brain was gone? she doctors think that her cortex (a nearby area of the brain) took over most of the load as she incomplete brain developed, many thanks to an amazing attribute of the brain called neuroplasticity—the brain"s capability to basically rewire itself to cope with new demands. The mind can"t cope v everything, and also the an ext of that is lost, the much less it have the right to reassign attributes to the remaining pieces. However neuroplasticity is nonetheless quite remarkable.
The woman from China"s is far from the just such bizarre and also fascinating story. A quick trip through the annals of modern-day medicine discover even much more surprising instances of missing brain structures.
Missing fifty percent of the Cerebral Cortex
There are a surprising number of known situations of civilization missing half of your cerebral cortex—the outermost chunk of brain tissue. A currently living and also healthy 16-year-old German girl is one. She was born without the ideal hemisphere of she cortex, though this wasn"t found until she to be 3 years old. Follow to her doctors, who published a full situation study on her 6 years ago, "despite lacking one hemisphere, the girl has actually normal psychological duty and is perfectly qualified of living a normal and fulfilling life. She is witty, charming, and intelligent."
The physical ailments brought about by she missing brain tissue to be seizures (since treated) and a slight weakness ~ above the left side of she body. But here"s something amazing around the way her brain has coped: if most civilization missing half their cerebral cortex shed sight in one eye, she left eye procedures visual details from both the right and also left intuitive field. In other words, her physicians say the while she has no depth perception (which is dependency on two eyes seeing slightly various images), her vision is otherwise favor that the someone through two eyes, encompassing the entire mental ar of vision.
Missing fifty percent the entire Brain
In a much more severe case, Michelle Mack, a 42-year-old Virginia native, is lacking not only fifty percent of she cortex yet most that the deeper, underlying mind structures on her left side together well. This neural abnormality is believed to it is in the reason of a prebirth seizure, however was no diagnosed till Mack was 27.
Mack i graduated high school and also speaks and also communicates with some level that normality—thanks come neuroplasticity. But her mind has no faultlessly rewired itself: Mack quiet has issues comprehending abstract concepts, is susceptible to emotional distress, and also her lower visual–spatial handling ability way that she additionally is easily lost in unfamiliar surroundings. Yet, living v her parents, she nonetheless manages a productive and fulfilling life.
Missing All however the mind Stem
Trevor Waltrip, born in Louisiana top top Christmas eve in 2001, has actually defied the odds because that 12 years. He live without any brain at all conserve the brain stem.
Trevor was born v a rare condition called hydranencephaly, which replaced his neural tissue with cerebrospinal fluid. His mind stem enabled him to breathe and also maintain a heartbeat but little more. That was preserved on a feeding pipe up until last month, once he passed away peacefully.
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William HerkewitzScience & an innovation ReporterWilliam Herkewitz is a scientific research and modern technology journalist based in Berlin, Germany.
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