Living with Half of a Brain

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During this past week while studying chapter three, the most shocking thing that struck me was learning that some people live with only half a brain. Prior to this psychology course, I knew the brain was responsible for many of our bodily functions, which I learned in my high school biology class. However, we have learned about brain plasticity, and this definitely applies to those who only live with half a brain.

I researched more about this topic to learn more about it, because I was so fascinated by the power of our brains to adapt to such circumstances. Here is an article about a woman who was born with a lesion in her left hemisphere, essentially leaving it useless.

In her case, brain plasticity isn't perfect, since she still has some trouble with visual-spatial processing. It makes me wonder what inhibited her brain from fully acquiring the functions, and why the functions usually present in the left hemisphere overtook some functions in her right hemisphere.

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I also found it interesting that being "left- or right-brained" is a misconception. I have a few friends who are left-handed, and we would always joke about our "psychological traits" according to this misconception. It'll be nice to tell them that these "traits" are not true. (;

5 Comments

I think this is fascinating too! I actually saw a documentary about a young girl who had half of her brain removed because it was causing her seizures and the remaining half of her brain just took over most of the functions. The neurons forged new connections and by appearance one would never know that she was living with a half a brain!

It's so cool how the brain can heal itself, nice blog entry. I took a neuroscience class and we also learned about a young girl who lives with half her brain. I believe she had seizures as a toddler, so the doctors decided to remove half her brain.

It fascinates me that, when parts of the brain are missing, the brain just makes do with that is left and does an amazing job. Her doctors are astounded that she can even see out of both eyes. Neural plasticity is one of the most interesting fields in this modern age of science and it's something I think deserves more research.

I agree with you about the "left/right-brained" idea. In ninth grade, many of my friends "took" quizzes to see which side we were dominate in. I think this is an example of pseudoscience, since we always want to understand why we do the things that we do. So if I was "right-brain dominant," then that could explain why I may be better at creative writing than engineering. We like saying, "Oh. That makes sense," and being done with that problem.

I agree as well that this was a good topic to discuss. This topic relates to me personally, a few years ago my cousin had a stroke. In order to save his life the doctors had to remove his skull to reduce swelling of the brain. The left side of his brain suffered damage. The doctors said that there is a great chance that he will be in a vegetated state due to the severity of his injuries. However, they said that since he is left-handed it is a possibility his speech and other important motor skills can be in the right side of his brain which can lead to a better recovery. Today my cousin is living and has limited mobility to his right side, while the left side of his body is fine. His speech is limited but he is able to write and draw pictures to communicate. Despite his lack of speech he is able to understand everything, even though he is not able communicate. His story is amazing and show the brains ability to adapt to injury and for some cases an individual can beat the odds of survival.

I totally agree that this was a interesting topic to pick for this blog assignment. There are so many things that we attribute to being either right or left brain dominant that it is interesting to believe that it is not actually the case. I also wonder how it would effect someone's depth perception to only have one side of their brain firing properly. And also how someone would adapt to such a disability for daily life.

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This page contains a single entry by luong051 published on February 5, 2012 3:49 PM.

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