The human body is a truly amazing thing. One of the most astounding things about our bodies, though, is that even after all these years, they still find new ways to impress us. For example, have you ever heard of someone losing half of their brain and still being able to function relatively normally?
That’s the story that we’re about to uncover. A poor girl lost half of her brain due to epilepsy, but she was able to learn how to read – all because her organs ‘rewired’ themselves!
The 14-year-old in question was suffering from severe epilepsy, so much so that the left-hand side of her brain had to be removed. This was because the condition was not getting any better, and drugs were doing little – if anything – for her.
Removing the segment that makes it possible to read, though, would naturally have major consequences on the body. However, according to Erez Freud, the assistant professor at the Department of Psychology at York University’s Faculty of Health and Centre for Vision Research, Canada, the brain was able to overcome this.
It rewired itself over to the right-hand side, allowing the lucky lady to keep on reading! Freud said in a statement that “What we’re seeing is remarkable.”
A changing of our understanding
And it truly is. Having picked out 10 children aged 6-17, all who had severe epileptic conditions that drugs were doing nothing for, they agreed to take on the surgery to see if it could help them out.
Most of them developed epilepsy due to issues with their health, including strokes and tumors. Another 10 healthy children acted as part of the ‘control group’.
During the surgery, six of the children lost their ability to see – three left-hand side, three right-hand sides. Others lost abilities such as peripheral vision, while others had no visual-related losses as this part of the brain was not touched. By putting the kids through recognition, memory, and word association testing afterward, their brains were scanned.
All of the participants were able to complete the tests to an average standard apart from two, who had the largest amount of their visual cortex removed. The fact that one of the individuals was able to rewire their brain to be able to keep on reading, though, is incredible.
It shows that the brain is far more versatile than most give it credit for and is easily one of the most satisfying and fascinating parts of modern life.
Without doubt, this incredible finding is going to go a very long way to helping us better understand the human mind – and what it can recover from. Apparently, even the most drastic of surgeries can still lead to happy endings – if our bodies are determined enough.