16 February 2011

A boy with cerebellar hypoplasia

Of everything I saw today, this was the item that most impressed me.  As noted at the NeuroLOGICA blog, the video above errs toward hyperbole and is misleading when it indicates that the boy "does not have" a cerebellum or a pons; he almost certainly has hypoplastic ones.  Still, it is a remarkable story of the adaptive plasticity of the human brain.

Found in the compilation of informative links at Miss C Recommends.


  1. A colleague of mine was hydrocephalic, she literally only had half a brain—the left half of her brain was missing.

    Yet, she spoke four different languages and was a foreign sales manager at the company where I worked. The only symptom she suffered from the lack of her left brain was dyslexia, and a poor sense of direction. She was very smart and had a witty sense of humor! A lot of fun to work with.

    If the boy in the video has his upper faculties fully functioning, he should well surprise many with what he will be capable of doing. One should never tell such a child that "it can't be done." That child will find a way around the deficits and make it work!

  2. I've seen reports of other cases like this. In one instance, the guy was working for his Ph.D., with an IQ of 126, before they discovered his brain cavity was mostly empty.

    Really does make you wonder whether we have any idea of what the mind really is.

    I'd be curious to know if anybody has considered the possibility that the "gut-brain" has taken over for some of the missing brain functions.

    --Swift Loris

  3. A nice deconstruction of the media reporting on this case is available at one of my other favorite blogs, Neurologica. Adding to the interest is that the mother has joined the comment section.

  4. Thank you so much, Ben. I hadn't taken time to search the boy's story further. Hypoplasia certainly makes more sense. I've rewritten the post's title and text.

    Many thanks for the correction and the link.


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