A Remarkable Brain

There was a recent discovery by doctors in China who were examining a woman who had come in for check up. As it turns out, the woman had been operating a normal lifestyle for 24 years without a Cerebellum which is the part of the brain that controls balance and fine motor skills. A person who is able to function and walk properly without on of these is practically unheard of.

missing-cerebellum

 

The woman did have some symptoms like dizziness and vomiting, but normally the symptoms for a missing cerebellum would be much more extreme like the complete inability to walk. In the woman’s early childhood she did have some issues with walking, but she was eventually able to walk somewhat normally by the age of four.

When the doctors scanned the woman’s brain, they found she had no cerebellum, a region of the brain thought to be crucial for walking and other movements. Instead, the scans showed a large hole filled with cerebrospinal fluid…CT and MRI scans revealed no remnants of any cerebellar tissues, verifying complete absence of the cerebellum” (Extraordinary Brain: A Woman’s Missing Cerebellum Went Unnoticed for 24 Years). 

This development indicates that a young brain can adapt well to serious abnormalities, much better than an older brain could. There have been cases of young children with missing cerebellums before this case however, most of them did not live very long and during their lives they had pretty severe health issues such as mental disabilities.

It is very possible that other people have a condition such as this who have not yet been diagnosed with a missing cerebellum. To me, this raises a question about human evolution. It reminds me much of the appendix and how we are still debating it’s exact function within the human body. At first we thought it had no function whatsoever, but further research has proved that as an inaccurate statement. However, there is evidence that the appendix has evolved throughout different species to adapt to their behaviors.

The cerebellum has obviously served a great purpose to us and we thought that there was no way a person could function normally without one. The fact that this woman has been doing relatively fine her whole entire life without a functioning cerebellum begs the question of how it is possibly similar to the appendix and it’s evolving between different species. Is this woman just a medical miracle or is this possibly a window into the next superhuman race? I don’t know.

Bibliography

 Yu, Feng, Qing-jun Jiang, Xi-yan Sun, and Rong-wei Zhang. “Brain.” A New Case of Complete Primary Cerebellar Agenesis: Clinical and Imaging Findings in a Living Patient. Oxford Journals, n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2014. <http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/08/22/brain.awu239.extract>.
 Barras, Collin. “Appendix Evolved More Than 30 Times.” Science. AAAS, 12 Feb. 2013. Web. 14 Sept. 2014. <http%3A%2F%2Fnews.sciencemag.org%2Fplants-animals%2F2013%2F02%2Fappendix-evolved-more-30-times>.
 “What Is the Function of the Human Appendix? Did It Once Have a Purpose That Has since Been Lost?” Scientific American Global RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2014. <http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-is-the-function-of-t/>.
 Bailey, Regina. “What Is the Cerebellum?” About. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2014. <http://biology.about.com/od/anatomy/p/cerebellum.htm>.

2 thoughts on “A Remarkable Brain

  1. Tiffany Elizabeth Breon Post author

    That is a good point. I was trying to say that they both at one point or another were of some use to the human body (no matter how important or unimportant). I guess I should have included the fact that we don’t really know if there were any major symptoms from losing the appendix in it’s early stages. Perhaps, long ago, when or if the appendix was of a greater use than it is now, did it cause any symptoms such as what the woman was having or any deaths because it’s use was so vital to the human body (or other species) that now through it’s evolution has made itself a far less vital organ.

  2. Gordon Alexander Bonker

    It is interesting you compared this occurrence and scientific discovery to the beliefs of the function of the appendix. I see your comparison, however I believe that the Appendix serves as a far less important factor to the human body that the cerebellum does. I say this because having no appendix is symptom free, where as like you said about this woman, she did encounter some symptoms, such as dizziness and vomiting.

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