About three years ago, a boy, aged ten now, identified as UD in a study released recently in the Cell Reports journal, was diagnosed with a tumor affecting his right brain hemisphere. The doctors had the only option to cut out the affected part of the boy’s brain. Accordingly, the specialists removed the boy’s whole right occipital lobe and part of his temporal, together totaling about one-sixth of his brain or approximately 33%.
The boy, not only that he managed to survive the intervention, but nearly fully recovered as the remaining part of his brain started to compensate for the mission region, according to the study’s report which wants to show the power of the human brain to accommodate with such significant losses.
Living without the right occipital lobe and a part of the temporal
The occipital lobes, one on the right hemisphere of the brain and another on the left one, work together to process visual information and associate it with memory. The difference between the two lobes is that the right one handles facial recognition, while the left one is more involved in processing written words.
On the other hand, the temporal lobe is the brain region involved in auditory processing and additional sensory information.
Before cutting out UD’s occipital lobe and a part of the temporal, the doctors came up with two possible outcomes. In such cases, one possibility would be that the brain won’t compensate for the lost regions, while the other one would be that the remaining brain regions will take the responsibilities of the lost parts.
In the first case, the patient would have severe visual, auditory, and cognitive impairments.
The 10-year-old boy, UD, nearly fully recovered after doctors cut out one-sixth of his brain
In UD’s case, during the past three years, the 10-year-old boy’s brain almost compensated entirely for the parts cut out by the intervention.
However, UD remained with a blind spot on his left side, but the boy can efficiently tackle this disadvantage by moving his eyes and head in compensation. Furthermore, UD scored above average in the IQ tests he took after surgery, as he did before the intervention.
The study on UD’s case demonstrates the power of the brain to reorganize and compensate for the lost parts.