Friday, July 29, 2011

Brain and brain what is brain?

It has been recently determined that unlike our relatives in the family of great apes, human brains actually shrink with age.  But did you know that humans can live normal lives with a severely underdeveloped brain?  I’ll spare you the jokes about “that explains Congress.”

Seriously, this site provides an intriguing look at this (apparently) true medical phenomenon.  It cites a few cases that truly enraptured my attention.  One involved a university student in England.  He was academically successful and had an IQ measured at 126.  While visiting the campus doctor for a minor need, the doctor noticed that the young man’s head was larger than normal.  He referred him to neurologist Dr. John Lorber.  Dr. Lorber performed a CAT scan and discovered that the student had virtually no cerebral tissue.  How is this possible?
It’s not the only case, either.  The article goes on to detail an account of a New York City janitor who died suddenly at age 35.  An autopsy revealed a virtually empty cranial cavity.

This Dr. Lorber is said to have identified hundreds of people similarly non-existent or atrophied brains.  Now in the day job, I’ve had to study the structure of the brain in order to impress upon students that the brain directs every function of the body, heartbeat and breathing being among two of the more crucial ones.  If these subjects mentioned previously had such tiny brains, how were those vital functions carried out?  Not only did they survive but thrived.  They may not have used aureate language or cured cancer, but there were several cases of subjects having IQ’s measuring over the 120 mark.  I find this disconcerting.  I have never had a CAT scan or an MRI done on my cranium.  Do I have a brain?  Do you?

While I am not ready to accept these findings until I can find corroborating sources from scientific journals, it just begs so many other questions.  If intelligence is not seated within the brain, then where is it?  Where does it come from?  Where then is consciousness located?  The purported subjects were all self-aware and far from “soulless.” 
A few biologists have proposed a radical theory.  Memories are not stored in our brains nor does thought take place there.  That flies in the face of research evidence and it gets even weirder.  Our craniums are more like radio receivers, catching and collecting waves that form up our memories of the past and modes of thinking.  Then from where do these “waves” emanate?  

That theory sounds very Matrix to me…not mention creepy and unsettling.

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