Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Deepest Cut - removing one cerebral hemisphere

The right and left hemispheres of our brains have a long list of distinctive specializations, one example being the centering of linguistic functions in the left hemisphere and emotional processing in the right. It is an amazing testament to plasticity of our brains that an entire hemisphere can be removed in children (in a last-ditch effort to stop intractable epilepsy), with the remaining hemisphere learning to take on some functions (such as language) previously handled by the now-missing partner. Several such surgeries (one on an eight year old girl) are described in an interesting article, with the title of this post, by Christine Kenneally in the July 3 issue of The New Yorker magazine.

No comments:

Post a Comment