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Boy with 'no brain' gets 1st class honours!

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New Member

Joined: 10 Sep 2003
Posts: 12
Location: Brighton

Post Tue Oct 07, 2003 11:24 am

Boy with 'no brain' gets 1st class honours!    Reply with quote  

Don't know if anyone saw this in the Guardian last week, but it's quite interesting:

"There's a young student at this university," neurologist Professor John Lorber of Sheffield University told Science magazine in December 1980, "who has an IQ of 126, has gained a first-class honours degree in mathematics, and is socially completely normal. And yet the boy has virtually no brain."

A scan revealed that the student had only 1mm of brain tissue lining the inside of his skull - fluid filled the area where the rest of his brain should have been. His was an extreme case of hydrocephalus, or "water on the brain", whereby cerebrospinal fluid fills the brain instead of circulating around it. Most sufferers can lead normal lives if regularly treated.

But if he had no brain, where was his mind?

Similar questions are raised by cases of "transplant memories". In 1988, Claire Sylvia received a heart and double-lung transplant. After the operation, she underwent some apparent personality changes: she began to have unusual (for her) cravings for beer, green peppers and chicken nuggets; she dreamed about beautiful women and experienced homosexual urges. She also dreamed of meetings with a young man called Tim.

Alarmed, Sylvia sought out her donor's family and discovered that her new organs had belonged to an 18-year-old boy, called Tim. Tim had a penchant for the same foods she was craving - he was eating chicken nuggets when he died - and Sylvia felt he was the boy in her dreams.
In the 19th century, German anatomist Leopold Auerbach observed a complex network of nerve cells in the human digestive tract. This nerve bundle, a "second brain" containing more nerve cells than the spinal cord, was recently rediscovered by Michael Gershon at Columbia University. Professor Wolfgang Prinz in Munich has also studied this, and thinks it could govern some of our emotional and physical responses to thoughts and events - hence, perhaps, "gut feelings".

Georgetown University's Dr Candace Pert has suggested that neuropeptides are linked to our sense of self. These chemicals, found in all our major organs and muscles, enable communication between the mind and body. Pert's theory is that they also carry our emotions and our memories. Is consciousness diffused throughout the body with them?

Mark Tyrrell
Uncommon Knowledge Staff

Joined: 16 Sep 2003
Posts: 479

Post Tue Oct 07, 2003 1:28 pm

Conciousness-where is it?    Reply with quote  

That is really interesting Simon! Reminds me of the 70's punk song "Looking through Gary Gilmore's eyes" based on the fact that the notorious serial killer bequethed his eyes to science before his execution. Certainly if consciousness is distinct from brain function (and perhaps time and space on occasions) then perhaps it caqn be located throughout the body not just where the brain resides: Shocked



Joined: 15 Sep 2003
Posts: 247

Post Tue Oct 07, 2003 4:45 pm

   Reply with quote  

If consciousness is diffused throughout the body, can we then say it's our observing self?
Junior Member

Joined: 09 Jan 2008
Posts: 72

Post Sat Jul 31, 2010 2:59 pm

   Reply with quote  

interesting. Mind you, do you need a brain or mind to pass an exam? I just winged my exam, and i had little or no brain at the time. mostly thx to lazyness, a womsn problem and drugs

maybe theres dna in body transplants and this gets leaked into the system gradually.
if i gave blood to someone, then they wud prolly have a fair few chemicals int heir systm that wud eventually get upto their brain. And aslo, what about them films where they get heart transplants from serial killers and turn into maniacs?hmmmm?ok, that last statememnt was my attempt at a joke.
but yeah, interesting

Joined: 17 May 2007
Posts: 4188

Post Sat Jul 31, 2010 11:07 pm

   Reply with quote  

goodness me this thread is seven years old!! I wonder if he has a phd now?!
New Member

Joined: 10 Aug 2010
Posts: 6

Post Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:55 pm

   Reply with quote  

How absolutely outstanding.
Junior Member

Joined: 29 May 2010
Posts: 44

Post Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:53 am

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