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A Neurosurgeon on Why Some People Function With Only Half a Brain

The study results are reassuring and they point to two larger truths

Yesterday, we ran a story about a recent study in which 40 people who had half of their brains removed (hemispherectomy) as children — due to intractable epilepsy — did unexpectedly well on psychological tests. Some say that it’s easy to explain because the brain has so many redundant elements. But is that all we need to know? We asked pediatric neurosurgeon Michael Egnor for some thoughts on that approach and he replied: The means by which people with major parts of their brains removed maintain function are not understood. It’s nonsense to say, as some do, that “The brain is massively parallel and recursive and functions under network rules and laws.” That’s typical neuroscience gibberish. The fact is that Read More ›

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Your Mind vs. Your Brain: Ten Things To Know

Although we are only beginning to understand the workings of the brain, it clearly isn't the same thing as the mind

Here are some reasons why they aren’t really the same: 1. Is the human brain unique in some way? Yes, but not so much in its structure as in the things we do with it. For example, the human, mouse, and fly brains all use the same basic mechanisms, which is a bit of a puzzle, considering the different things we do with our brains. The human brain is bigger than most. But then lemurs performed as well as chimps on the primate cognitive test battery (a primate intelligence test) and lemurs only have brains that are 1/200th the size of chimps’ brains. So, what we humans are doing differently from lemurs and chimps doesn’t depend wholly on brain size Read More ›