Is it really possible to live a normal life with half a brain ? Image Credit: CC 2.0 Andrew Mason
A new study has revealed the remarkable ability of the human brain to adapt even when half of it is missing.
The brain is an important organ, so much so that the very idea of having any of it removed at all would seem positively barbaric - surely we need the whole thing in order to function in our daily lives ?
According to a new study however, this may not actually be the case.
The research sought to assess the brain health of six people who had undergone a hemispherectomy as a child - a procedure that involves either severing or removing half the brain.
Such an action is usually taken to reduce the chance of seizures in bad cases of pediatric epilepsy.
"The people with hemispherectomies that we studied were remarkably high-functioning," said study author Dorit Kliemann. "They have intact language skills. When I put them in the [brain] scanner, we made small talk, just like the hundreds of other individuals I have scanned."
"You can almost forget their condition when you meet them for the first time."
Now in their 20s and 30s, the patients underwent MRI scans while fully conscious.
Incredibly, the scans revealed normal neural activity and function within the brain.
"What surprises me is the degree of compensation that was noted," said Dr. Joseph Sirven.
"And if we could figure out the way that the brain compensates in this dramatic setting, and harness this compensatory mechanism for patients affected by stroke, traumatic brain injury or other conditions, that would be a very big deal."
Source: Webmd.com | Comments (11)