Last Updated on June 12, 2023 by Umar
The human brain is a complex and fascinating organ, responsible for our thoughts, emotions, and actions.
But what happens when a person is missing a significant portion of their brain?
Can they still lead a normal life?
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the experiences of individuals who have survived with half a brain, the science behind this phenomenon, and the implications for our understanding of the brain’s capabilities.
Personal Stories: Living with Half a Brain
There are several documented cases of people living with half a brain or missing large parts of their brain.
One such example is a 24-year-old woman who was found to be missing her entire cerebellum, a structure that contains half of the brain’s cells.
Despite this, she has led a relatively normal life, graduating from school, getting married, and having a child.Another example is Senator-elect John Fetterman, who suffered a stroke and made a remarkable recovery within just a couple of months.
His experience demonstrates the brain’s ability to reorganize itself and work around damage.
The Science: Hemispherectomy and Neuroplasticity
In some cases, individuals undergo a surgical procedure called hemispherectomy, where one hemisphere of the brain is removed.
This is often done to treat severe epilepsy in children.
Research has shown that when one hemisphere is removed during childhood, the remaining hemisphere can take over the functions of the missing half.This ability of the brain to adapt and reorganize itself is known as neuroplasticity.
It is particularly pronounced in young children, whose brains are still developing and have a greater capacity for change.
Stroke Survival Rates and Life Expectancy
While some individuals can survive and even thrive with half a brain, it is important to note that stroke survival rates and life expectancy can vary significantly depending on factors such as age and overall health.
For example, a Canadian study found that stroke patients aged 80 or older had a 24.2% mortality rate during their hospital stays, while those under 59 years old had a 5.7% mortality rate.
Conclusion: The Resilience of the Human Brain
The experiences of individuals living with half a brain, as well as scientific research on hemispherectomy and neuroplasticity, demonstrate the incredible resilience and adaptability of the human brain. While there is still much to learn about the brain’s capabilities and limitations, these cases challenge our understanding of what is possible and inspire us to continue exploring the mysteries of the mind.