Man born with "virtually no brain" has advanced math degree

[Read the post]

1 Like

Lorber divides the subjects into four categories: those with minimally enlarged entricles; those whose ventricles fill 50 to 70 percent of the cranium; those in which the ventricles fill between 70 and 90 percent of the intracranial space; and the most severe group, in which ventricle expansion fills 95 percent of the cranium. Many of the individuals in this last group, which forms just less than 10 percent of the total sample, are severely disabled, but half of them have IQ’s greater than 100.

So is it mostly the motor cortex that’s gone?

Whoa. I wonder how stressful and shocking it was to the patient to find out his head was mostly hollow.


I think I may remember the original paper from the 1980’s. I seem to remember there was a Swedish team that decided to use the brain scanners to scan normal people when there weren’t patients wanting to use it. Their first find a 90% water head, which was a complete shock at the time, and they later found a 95% one. Apparently, the outside skin of the brain is virtually the same for the people with normal intelligence but it is only a thin rind. I suppose the thinner it gets, the more chance there is that some bit will go missing entirely.

There is a logical side to this. Brains are wrinkly to pack in more surface. But brains use a lot of energy, and it is hard to believe the bit in the middle is completely useless. Life is usually classier than that, and it is pretty good at folding over and doubling up if it wants more of something.

1 Like

English motherf*cker! Do you speak it??

1 Like

So Johnny Mnemonic is a practical reality? Hell, if I don’t need that 90% I can think of a few things to store there.

1 Like

You mean half of them are above average?? Quick get this man funding STAT!


The sequel to Lucy?


Might make the brains more efficient at cooling. I read something that suggested that’s what yawning is all about.

The ones from Lake Wobegon, of course.


Have you ever had a brain scan? YOUR brain might be mostly missing too!

I similarly have “led a normal cognitive and social life” and have not yet had a brain scan…

When they are people who have significantly undersized brains, having their subpopulation distribution even roughly in line with the total population distribution is quite interesting.

If they were randomly selected persons representative of the general population, no it wouldn’t be that interesting. That is, however, not what is being talked about.


I never had either (can only dream what’s going on up there), but my husband did. As a teen, he had a brain tumour removed. He didn’t remember- or realize- how much had been removed until 3 years ago when he got scanned again for another reason. We were flabbergasted to only see one temporal lobe on there; the other a dark hole. He has high IQ, is a total math and programming wiz, has great social skills… He spent decades not realizing he was missing an entire lobe. It was pretty shocking.


I’m honestly surprised he went for mathematics rather than politics.


Politics takes a surprising amount of brains. Of course all the cognitive power has to be spent on the ladder climbing, and outsmarting the competitors; that is what matters. Actual competence in other fields is detrimental as such activities sink resources that’d be otherwise spent on the intrigues and public relations and other activities crucial for maintaining and improving one’s position.

It is a meritocracy of sorts. But the criteria for merits are wrongly set.


I can’t speak for the patient in the post, obviously, but this scenario is unsettlingly familiar. I’m someone in their late thirties with a couple of bachelor’s degrees and a license to practice public accounting who discovered after going to a neurologist over migraines a couple of years ago that I have an apparently pretty severe case of hydrocephalus. (As in… These images shouldn’t belong to a walking, talking, fairly normally functioning adult)

I was shocked, sure, but there was also relief- weird things that I’d experienced mapped nearly perfectly onto the symptoms/side effects of hydrocephalus. Most days, I don’t give it a second thought- I am what I am.


Neuroplasticity ain’t nothin’ to fuck wit!

I actually want to get a t-shirt made with a picture of that guy’s MRI on it and that phrase underneath it.


If he’s anything like my mom, then probably fairly disturbing but also fascinating and a bit relieving. FWIW, my mother found out she had a similar thing going on. Though she has much more brain matter. In her fifties she slipped and fell. Afterwards she began having dizzy spells and dropping things. She ended up seeing a neurologist where it was discovered that she had, since birth, had this condition and her brain had simply grown around it. It solved a lot of childhood questions for her and brought some comfort in that way, not to mention we were all relieved it wasn’t a malignant tumor. But it’s kind of freaky at the same time.

As it turned out with her the dizzy spells and dropping things was due to inner ear injury from the fall. She’d been coping with her “bubble brain” as she calls it all her life. My mother has a degree and works to this day, she was a teacher for 20 years. No one would ever meet her and think “I bet a significant amount of this woman’s brain is missing!”

So, what’s all that meat in the center of a typical human brain doing? Just structural support?

EDIT: This short article says, “Maybe. More research required.”