From Mental Floss:
From the outside, Elena del Peral seems to be like any other high-achieving college senior. She goofs around the campus quad of Massachusetts’ Curry College with her classmates and posts pictures on Facebook of birthday drinks with girlfriends. She holds a philanthropic job at a childhood cancer foundation and is on the dean’s list. She’s friendly, bright, and fit. Outwardly, perhaps the most provocative thing about her is that she’ll wear both a Yankees cap and a Red Sox jersey at the same time—a peacemaker among the long-standing rivals.
But beneath her cap is one remarkable mind. Elena del Peral has only half a brain.
She was born with very severe epilepsy which not only destroyed the left side of her brain but greatly compromised the functioning of the right side via the corpus callosum that join the two.
At age six, del Peral underwent a battery of tests including MRIs, EEGs, and CAT scans. A team including neurologists and neurosurgeons pored over the results. They said her condition fit the criteria for a rare surgery that seemed radical but had yielded promising results in the past for people like her. It was called a hemispherectomy: “hemisphere,” half the brain; “-ectomy,” surgically removing it. In short, they wanted to remove half of Elena’s brain.
“Language sets up shop by age two, three, and four, at which time we are learning how to speak,” Dr. Weiner says. “When the area that controls language is damaged, it can move. The earlier the insult, the more likely it is to move—the more plasticity.” That’s what happened in del Peral’s case. The left side of her brain was damaged in the womb, so language and motor function shifted to the right side before she was even born. At the time of her surgery, the left side of her brain, the source of her epilepsy, was doing more harm than good. More.
She must wwork harder than other students to succeed but reportedly gets good marks.
Incidentally, this radical surgery is not done as much any more, as the same results can be achieved simply by disconnecting the non-functioning part of the brain and removing really bad sections, leaving the hole to fill up with spinal fluid.
Another interesting case: Largely brain absent man functions normally
Because metaphysical naturalism is just plain wrong. The situation is not even as rare as supposed; just not diagnosed in the past.
Some other examples here:
First, there are not-easily-reducible anomalies. For example, the man rendered significantly brain-absent in an accident who achieved a remarkable recovery. And the normal 88-year-old man whose brain had never had a connection between the two halves (corpus callosum). Other patients with conditions as anomalous as his may function normally but never present themselves for a brain scan. These cases warn us that a brain is not just a material object like a car, and a mind is not just an illusion it creates. – “Neuroscience Tried Wholly Embracing Naturalism, But Then the Brain Got Away” More.
See also: The human mind, the skinny
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