The most extraordinary human brain ever seen?

Once you know what it is, this apparently innocuous picture of a blob assumes a terrible gravity. It is an adult human brain that is entirely smooth – free of the ridges and folds so characteristic of our species’ most complex organ.

Lissencephaly brain

We can only imagine what life was like for this person. He or she was a resident of what is now North Texas State Hospital, a mental health facility, and died there in 1970, but that’s all we know. While the jar containing the brain is labelled with a reference number, the microfilm containing the patient’s medical records has been lost.

The label on the jar states that the patient had agyria – a lack of gyri and sulci, the ridges and folds formed by the normally wrinkled cerebral cortex. This rare condition, also known as lissencephaly, often leads to death before the age of 10. It can cause muscle spasms, seizures and, as it vastly reduces the surface area of this key part of the brain, a range of learning difficulties. Learn more here.

Advertisements

Tags:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: