How Much of a Brain Can One do Without?

Zoe

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Bernard,
What you read may have been SuffleBrain by Paul Pietsch, who I posted about recently, or about Karl Pribram, who developed the theory that the brain, and memory, work like holograms. Memory then is not physically stored like a recording, but is a process of being constructed and reconstructed.

When I read Pietsch's book, it made clear that the brain has the ability to "remember" repair itself even on a cellular level. Therefore, even though my right temporal lobe was destroyed, there was plenty of reason to believe that what remained, i.e., the left temporal lobe should be able to "remember" it's deceased twin and regain those lost skills and abilities. I did a lot of visualizing to try and get this to occur.

Six years later the surgeons did brain mapping to determine where to operate in my second brain surgery. They were shocked to discover that many functions that are normally found in the right hemisphere, types of memory and language, and motor skills, were being performed by my left hemisphere.

Think of skills, like language and writing not as being physically stored, but as being dynamic processes, patterns of brain activity. So, when my temporal lobe was removed, the memories\skills were not lost, but the pattern, or ability to follow the pattern was impaired. These patterns, like a hologram can be redeveloped which happens as we see when people recover from physical damage to the brain. Like when roads are washed out in a storm, the brain has to assess the damage and develop alternate routes.

Take a look at Zolt's scans. Then picture his brain consciously directing itself to develop new nerve pathways, new patterns to go around the damaged area and redevelop whatever funcitions were in the area destroyed. That may make his great recovery, and that of others, more understandable.:pop:
 

Zoe

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Zolt,

These are great scans! The "after" scan looks like pac man, chomp! chomp! I expect you will, or have made, a full recovery.
 

Blonde Angel

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We do have several children on our Dutch forum who had a hemispherectomy so they do have just one brain half left which functions.

There is this one particular girl who had a brain bleeding when she was still in the womb. She developed West syndrome after she was born and her prognosis wasn't good at all, her parents were told she would function like a plant. At first she was denied for the operation because the epilepsy seemed to spread over both brain halves. Later on the professor decided to give her the benefit of the doubt because the risk of loss of functions didn't seemed to matter as much as when a child functions better than she did. In the years after the hemispherectomy the epilepsy totally disappeared, she leaned how to talk, walk and instead of being tube fed she leaned to eat and drink normally. She's med free now. She is mentally disabled but can function well enough to be happy, go to special education and makes her parents very happy, just on that one brain half that took over all functions. We do consider her a medical wonder and an encouragement to all other parents who stand for the decision to perform brain surgery on their child.
That's why I'm rather sceptical with always going along with the Dr's prognosis . I don't believe in giving up when stuff appears futile, I believe in being pro active.
There is so much still to learn and amazing things do happen. I'm not naïve to believe in everything has happy endings but I do believe in trying rather than not trying.
Then later one ends up regretting and being bitter.
 

Blonde Angel

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Bernard said:
How much brain is required for each? I don't know, but is seems clear to me that some people have better function in some areas than others.
Is it about genetics?
Do some people have better genetic predispositions than others that gives them the advantage over others?
That's what I wonder.
 
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Dutch mom

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That's why I'm rather sceptical with always going along with the Dr's prognosis . I don't believe in giving up when stuff appears futile, I believe in being pro active.
There is so much still to learn and amazing things do happen. I'm not naïve to believe in everything has happy endings but I do believe in trying rather than not trying.
Then later one ends up regretting and being bitter.
I've seen many children develop much better than any prognosis predicted. But at the same time I saw children doing worse than their initial prognosis was (like my son, I regretfully must admit.) This shows the danger in any prognosis. Especially in children who are far more flexible in adapting and that counts especially when it comes to brain surgery and development of the brain. (Small) children are much more flexible than adults. Just like with language development that goes far more easily in small children than in adults, the brain takes over functions of the damaged or not functioning brain half more easy.
 

B1GGregNZ

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When I was 7 weeks old I was diagnosed with a medical condition known as Hydrocephalus. As a result of this I was left with about 60% of my brain. I have had problems with motor skills, strength, and precision (small minute movements) I can basically just hold things with it.I do try to stimulate it as much as I can. Sometimes I see it as dead weight. This medical condition is why I was diagnosed with Epilepsy at the age of 16.
 

Nakamova

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It's amazing how adaptive the brain is, especially when the nerves are still growing. I bet you can do more with 60% of your brain than some folks can do with all of theirs. :)
 

Zoe

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Hi Big Gregg,
I hope you never give up doing things like stimulating your arm or working on fine motor movements. Even if you don't see much, or even a little improvement in some ways, the stimulation can help keep that side from becoming more weak and unable to use.
At the age of 31 I had a major storke that paralyzed the left side of my body. My situation (deformed blood vessels or AVM in my brain) is different from yours. I thought of my useless left hand as a paperweight, sometimes. Also, I used to crochet and was left handed for that. My "useless" left hand could hold the yarn and I learned to crochet with my right hand.

It took almost 20 years to overcome the paralysis. I still crochet with my right hand. Still, whenever I get sick or am injured and laid up for a while, the left side of my face will start to droop, and things will just drop out of my hand. I do some exercise every day, like you are doing with your constant stimulation. Even if you don't see improvement, challenging yourself as you do is a good strategy for keeping in as good a shape as possible. This may give you a better chance of recovering if you do get sick.
I had a lot of trouble with eye tracking. The sudoku puzzles were a challenge for me to do. I used the easiest ones for a long time. When I could do them well, I went to the next level. It took several years to gain much skill. It has helped with my visual tracking. Thanks for your post.
 
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C0urt

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you would think watching tv a fair amount. but really i fair amount of scaring through out my own. from a life time of poor choices. even before my epilepsy.
 

Zoe

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Maybe so, but don't underestimate what you can do for yourself, in many ways.
 
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