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“Real surprise”: Human brain’s right, left hemispheres connect – despite no corpus callosum

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Normal vs. cc-absent brain - both synchronize activity/Caltech

In “Bridging the Gap” (Caltech, 10/10/11), we learn: “Caltech Neuroscientists Find Normal Brain Communication in People Who Lack Connections Between Right and Left Hemispheres.” Not in itself a new sort of find, by any means.

PASADENA, Calif.—Like a bridge that spans a river to connect two major metropolises, the corpus callosum is the main conduit for information flowing between the left and right hemispheres of our brains. Now, neuroscientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have found that people who are born without that link—a condition called agenesis of the corpus callosum, or AgCC—still show remarkably normal communication across the gap between the two halves of their brains.

Many have heard about Roger Sperry’s work with people whose brains were split to control life-threatening epilepsy, whose left hand really didn’t know that their right hand was doing. But the Caltech researchers studied people who had never had a functional corpus callosum, from the time of embryogenesis:

“This was a real surprise,” says Tyszka. “We expected to see a lot less coupling between the left and right brain in this group—after all, they are missing about 200 million connections that would normally be there. How do they manage to have normal communication between the left and right sides of the brain without the corpus callosum?”

What may have happened is that, never having been able to connect via the CC, the two halves of the brain simply use existing communication channels more intensely to stay connected. By contrast, Sperry’s split-brain subjects brains had adapted to communicating through the CC, but then it was severed. There is a practical side to this research:

“We are now examining AgCC subjects who are also on the autism spectrum, in order to gain insights about the role of brain connectivity in autism, as well as in healthy social interactions,” says Tyszka. “About a third of people with AgCC also have autism, and altered connectivity in the corpus callosum has been found in autism. The remarkable compensation in brain functional networks that we found here may thus have important implications also for understanding the function of the brains of people with autism.”

See also: Researchers “very shocked” by recent new genes that form distinctly human brain

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There are a large number of genetic loci that can result in agenesis of the corpus callosum, and the agenesis is not always a complete absence. I don't know whether they looked for complete absence of the structure or not. In evaluating these patients I would think that you have to consider the possibility that the genetic deficit could have other consequences on brain function than the effect on the corpus callosum. As usual, genetic syndromes are complicated. PNG
Further notes as to transcendence of the mind:
Quantum mind–body problem Parallels between quantum mechanics and mind/body dualism were first drawn by the founders of quantum mechanics including Erwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, Niels Bohr, and Eugene Wigner http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mind%E2%80%93body_problem "It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness." Eugene Wigner (1902 -1995) from his collection of essays "Symmetries and Reflections – Scientific Essays"; Eugene Wigner laid the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963.
Here is the key experiment that led Wigner to his Nobel Prize winning work on quantum symmetries:
Eugene Wigner Excerpt: To express this basic experience in a more direct way: the world does not have a privileged center, there is no absolute rest, preferred direction, unique origin of calendar time, even left and right seem to be rather symmetric. The interference of electrons, photons, neutrons has indicated that the state of a particle can be described by a vector possessing a certain number of components. As the observer is replaced by another observer (working elsewhere, looking at a different direction, using another clock, perhaps being left-handed), the state of the very same particle is described by another vector, obtained from the previous vector by multiplying it with a matrix. This matrix transfers from one observer to another. http://www.reak.bme.hu/Wigner_Course/WignerBio/wb1.htm
i.e. In the experiment the 'world' (i.e. the universe) does not have a ‘privileged center’. Yet strangely, the conscious observer does exhibit a 'privileged center'. This is since the 'matrix', which determines which vector will be used to describe the particle in the experiment, is 'observer-centric' in its origination! Thus explaining Wigner’s dramatic statement, “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.” Further weight for consciousness to be treated as a separate entity in quantum mechanics, and thus the universe, is also found in the fact that it is impossible to 'geometrically' maintain 3-Dimensional spherical symmetry of the universe, within the sphere of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, for each 3D point of the universe, unless all the 'higher dimensional quantum information waves' actually do collapse to their 'uncertain 3D wave/particle state', universally and instantaneously, for each point of conscious observation in the universe just as the experiments of quantum mechanics are telling us that they do. The 4-D expanding hypersphere of the space-time of general relativity is insufficient to maintain such 3D integrity/symmetry, all by itself, for each different 3D point of observation in the universe. The primary reason for why the 4D space-time, of the 3D universe, is insufficient to maintain 3D symmetry, by itself, is because the universe is shown to have only 10^79 atoms. In other words, it is geometrically impossible to maintain such 3D symmetry of centrality with finite 3D material resources to work with for each 3D point in the universe. Universal quantum wave collapse of photons, to each point of 'conscious observation' in the universe, is the only answer that has adequate sufficiency to explain the 3D centrality we witness for ourselves in this universe. Experimental confirmation here:
Wheeler's Classic Delayed Choice Experiment: Excerpt: Now, for many billions of years the photon is in transit in region 3. Yet we can choose (many billions of years later) which experimental set up to employ – the single wide-focus, or the two narrowly focused instruments. We have chosen whether to know which side of the galaxy the photon passed by (by choosing whether to use the two-telescope set up or not, which are the instruments that would give us the information about which side of the galaxy the photon passed). We have delayed this choice until a time long after the particles "have passed by one side of the galaxy, or the other side of the galaxy, or both sides of the galaxy," so to speak. Yet, it seems paradoxically that our later choice of whether to obtain this information determines which side of the galaxy the light passed, so to speak, billions of years ago. So it seems that time has nothing to do with effects of quantum mechanics. And, indeed, the original thought experiment was not based on any analysis of how particles evolve and behave over time – it was based on the mathematics. This is what the mathematics predicted for a result, and this is exactly the result obtained in the laboratory. http://www.bottomlayer.com/bottom/basic_delayed_choice.htm
Shoot there is even experimental confirmation that the preceding experimental finding will NEVER be overturned;
An experimental test of all theories with predictive power beyond quantum theory - May 2011 Excerpt: Hence, we can immediately refute any already considered or yet-to-be-proposed alternative model with more predictive power than this (quantum theory). http://arxiv.org/abs/1105.0133
further notes:
(Double Slit) A Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser - updated 2007 Excerpt: Upon accessing the information gathered by the Coincidence Circuit, we the observer are shocked to learn that the pattern shown by the positions registered at D0 (Detector Zero) at Time 2 depends entirely on the information gathered later at Time 4 and available to us at the conclusion of the experiment. http://www.bottomlayer.com/bottom/kim-scully/kim-scully-web.htm
i.e. The preceding experiment clearly shows that the detector is secondary in the experiment and that a 'conscious observer', being able to know the information of which path a photon takes with local certainty, is primary to the wave collapsing to a particle in the experiment. The act of a detector detecting a photon at an earlier time in the experiment does not determine if the wave will be collapsed at the end of the experiment. Only the availability of the information to the observer is what matters for the wave to collapse. That is what he meant by 'we the observer are shocked to learn' It is also very interesting to note that some materialists seem to have a very, very, hard time grasping the simple point of these extended double slit experiments, but to try to put it more clearly; To explain an event which blatantly defies time and space, as the quantum erasure experiment clearly does, you cannot appeal to any material entity in the experiment like the detector, or any other 3D material/physical part of the experiment, which is itself strictly constrained by the limits of time and space. To give an adequate explanation for defying time and space one is forced to appeal to a transcendent entity which is itself not constrained by time or space. But then again I guess I can see why forcing someone, who claims to be a atheistic materialist, to appeal to a non-material transcendent entity, to give an adequate explanation for such a ‘spooky’ event, would invoke such utter confusion on their part. Yet to try to put it in even more ‘shocking’ terms for the atheists, the ‘shocking’ conclusion of the experiment is that a transcendent Mind, with a capital M, must precede the collapse of quantum waves to 3-Dimensional particles. Moreover, it is impossible, with a capital I, for a human mind to ever ‘emerge’ from any 3-D material basis which is dependent on a preceding transcendent conscious cause for its own collapse to a 3D state in the first place. This is more than a slight problem for the atheistic-evolutionary materialist who insists that our minds simply ‘emerged’, or evolved, from 3D matter. In the following article Professor Henry puts it more clearly than I can:
The Mental Universe - Richard Conn Henry - Professor of Physics John Hopkins University Excerpt: The only reality is mind and observations, but observations are not of things. To see the Universe as it really is, we must abandon our tendency to conceptualize observations as things.,,, Physicists shy away from the truth because the truth is so alien to everyday physics. A common way to evade the mental universe is to invoke "decoherence" - the notion that "the physical environment" is sufficient to create reality, independent of the human mind. Yet the idea that any irreversible act of amplification is necessary to collapse the wave function is known to be wrong: in "Renninger-type" experiments, the wave function is collapsed simply by your human mind seeing nothing. The universe is entirely mental,,,, The Universe is immaterial — mental and spiritual. Live, and enjoy. http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/The.mental.universe.pdf
further note:
Blind Woman Can See During Near Death Experience (NDE) - Pim von Lommel - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994599/ Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper (1997) conducted a study of 31 blind people, many of who reported vision during their Near Death Experiences (NDEs). 21 of these people had had an NDE while the remaining 10 had had an out-of-body experience (OBE), but no NDE. It was found that in the NDE sample, about half had been blind from birth. (of note: This 'anomaly' is also found for deaf people who can hear sound during their Near Death Experiences(NDEs).) http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2320/is_1_64/ai_65076875/ Does Quantum Biology Support A Quantum Soul? – Stuart Hameroff - video (notes in description) http://vimeo.com/29895068
Actually I've found that nothing, absolutely nothing, no matter how surprising it is to the rest of us, is surprising to a committed materialist/atheist who religiously believes that the mind, with all its stunning 'transcendent' attributes (M. Egnor) simply 'emerged' from the brain!!! But, despite your protestations, this study actually fits very well with the other studies I listed and provides another 'brick in the wall' of evidence that supports the mind being independent of brain; bornagain77
The article cited OP has nothing to do with whether the mind is independent of the brain. The brain's plasticity is fundamental to how it works, and follows "Hebb's rule": what fires together wires together. It isn't "surprising" at all: it's the basis of neuroscience, pretty well. Elizabeth Liddle
a few notes on the mind being independent of the brain:
Miracle Of Mind-Brain Recovery Following Hemispherectomies - Dr. Ben Carson - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994585/ Removing Half of Brain Improves Young Epileptics' Lives: Excerpt: "We are awed by the apparent retention of memory and by the retention of the child's personality and sense of humor,'' Dr. Eileen P. G. Vining; In further comment from the neuro-surgeons in the John Hopkins study: "Despite removal of one hemisphere, the intellect of all but one of the children seems either unchanged or improved. Intellect was only affected in the one child who had remained in a coma, vigil-like state, attributable to peri-operative complications." http://www.nytimes.com/1997/08/19/science/removing-half-of-brain-improves-young-epileptics-lives.html
Quantum non-locality is implicated in brain activity in the following study:
Brain ‘entanglement’ could explain memories - January 2010 Excerpt: In both cases, the researchers noticed that the voltage of the electrical signal in groups of neurons separated by up to 10 millimetres sometimes rose and fell with exactly the same rhythm. These patterns of activity, dubbed “coherence potentials”, often started in one set of neurons, only to be mimicked or “cloned” by others milliseconds later. They were also much more complicated than the simple phase-locked oscillations and always matched each other in amplitude as well as in frequency. (Perfect clones) “The precision with which these new sites pick up on the activity of the initiating group is quite astounding – they are perfect clones,” says Plen https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/mind/mind-quantum-mechanics-provides-clues-to-human-thinking/comment-page-1/#comment-399098
further notes: 'Surprisingly', at the molecular level, the cells of the brain are found to be extremely 'plastic' to changes in 'activity in the brain' which is, or course, completely contrary to the reductive materialistic view of the mind 'emerging' from the material brain;
DNA Dynamism - PaV - October 2011 Excerpt: “It was mind-boggling to see that so many methylation sites — thousands of sites — had changed in status as a result of brain activity,” Song says. “We used to think that the brain’s epigenetic DNA methylation landscape was as stable as mountains and more recently realized that maybe it was a bit more subject to change, perhaps like trees occasionally bent in a storm. But now we show it is most of all like a river that reacts to storms of activity by moving and changing fast.” https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/dna-dynamism/
Further notes:
Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz - "You Are Not Your Brain" - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0lPuN03b40 In The Wonder Of Being Human: Our Brain and Our Mind, Eccles and Robinson discussed the research of three groups of scientists (Robert Porter and Cobie Brinkman, Nils Lassen and Per Roland, and Hans Kornhuber and Luder Deeke), all of whom produced startling and undeniable evidence that a "mental intention" preceded an actual neuronal firing - thereby establishing that the mind is not the same thing as the brain, but is a separate entity altogether. http://books.google.com/books?id=J9pON9yB8HkC&pg=PT28&lpg=PT28
This following experiment is really interesting:
Scientific Evidence That Mind Effects Matter - Random Number Generators - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4198007
I once asked a evolutionist, after showing him the preceding experiment, "Since you ultimately believe that the 'god of random chance' produced everything we see around us, what in the world is my mind doing pushing your god around?" Here is a article and interview that is far more nuanced in the discerning of 'transcendent mind' from material brain than the brute empirics I've listed;
The Mind and Materialist Superstition - Six "conditions of mind" that are irreconcilable with materialism: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2008/11/the_mind_and_materialist_super.html Materialism and Human Dignity - Casey Luskin interviews Michael Egnor, professor of neurosurgery at SUNY, Stony Brook, on the relationship between the mind and the brain. - podcast http://intelligentdesign.podomatic.com/entry/2011-10-14T15_14_37-07_00 Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Well, cortical areas are connected by many routes, including cortical-subcortical loops, so it's not that big a surprise that congenital absence of a corpus callosum would not necessarily prevent mature resting-state networks from developing (although you have to be a bit careful with fMRI data because what you are measuring is blood flow to a region following neural activity, not neural activity itself, and when a region in one hemisphere is active, it may induce blood flow to the homologous region in the other hemisphere). And in any case, as you say, it's been known for a while that people with AgCC can be completely asymptomatic. But interesting work, especially the implications for autism. Elizabeth Liddle

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