Observations placeholder

Man lives normal life with abnormal brain

Identifier

003470

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

He had help....

A description of the experience

Man lives normal life with abnormal brain  - Reuters; Published Thursday, Jul. 19, 2007 8:06PM EDT

A man with an unusually tiny brain managed to live an entirely normal life despite his condition, caused by a fluid buildup in his skull, French researchers reported on Thursday.

Scans of the 44-year-old man's brain showed that a huge fluid-filled chamber called a ventricle took up most of the room in his skull, leaving little more than a thin sheet of actual brain tissue.

"He was a married father of two children, and worked as a civil servant," Dr. Lionel Feuillet and colleagues at a university in Marseille wrote in a letter to the Lancet medical journal.

The man went to a hospital after he had mild weakness in his left leg. When Dr. Feuillet's staff took his medical history, they learned he had had a shunt inserted into his head to drain away hydrocephalus -- water on the brain -- as an infant.  The shunt was removed when he was 14.

So the researchers did a computed tomography (CT) scan and another type of scan called magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). They were astonished to see "massive enlargement" of the lateral ventricles -- usually tiny chambers that hold the cerebrospinal fluid that cushions the brain.

Intelligence tests showed the man had an IQ of 75, below the average score of 100 but not considered mentally retarded or disabled, either.

 "What I find amazing to this day is how the brain can deal with something which you think should not be compatible with life," commented Dr. Max Muenke, a paediatric brain defect specialist at the National Human Genome Research Institute.

 

The large black space shows the fluid that replaced much of the patient’s brain (left).
For comparison, the images (right) show a typical brain without any abnormalities;  notice that the brain stem and cerebellum are largely unaffected  (Images: Feuillet et al/The Lancet)

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts, symbols and science items

Concepts

Symbols

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Activities

Overloads

Hydrocephalus

References