Saturday science subject: A no-brainer

— 3:12 PM on July 21, 2007

It's already known that people can lead relatively normal lives with half their brains removed, but what happens when almost all of a person's brain tissue is gone? As the New Scientist reports, doctors have found that a fluid buildup in a 44-year-old man's skull has left him with only a "thin sheet" of brain tissue:

Scans of the 44-year-old man's brain showed that a huge fluid-filled chamber called a ventricle took up most of the room in his skull, leaving little more than a thin sheet of actual brain tissue (see image, right).

“It is hard for me [to say] exactly the percentage of reduction of the brain, since we did not use software to measure its volume. But visually, it is more than a 50% to 75% reduction,” says Lionel Feuillet, a neurologist at the Mediterranean University in Marseille, France.

Despite this ailment, the man manages to lead a normal life. The New Scientist says he is married, has two children, and holds a job as a civil servant. His IQ is only 75, which is 25 points below the average, but still not below the mental retardation threshold.
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