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Neuroplasticity and the Hemispherectomy

Cool stuff, yo.

Jeffrey Robinson II

on 8 February 2013

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Transcript of Neuroplasticity and the Hemispherectomy

Neuroplasticity and the Hemispherectomy Hemispherectomy Dr. Ben Carson Neuroplasticity How the brain heals It's a rare procedure that's used to treat seizures in people suffering from epilepsy that is localized in one hemisphere of the brain. During the procedure, the entire left or right brain is disconnected or removed entirely. This is the 'anatomic hemispherectomy'. A 'functional hemispherectomy' is a similar procedure in which the temporal lobe is removed, and the frontal and occipital lobes are disconnected from the rest of the brain. This procedure is widely used in lieu of the anatomic hemishperestomy. He was famous for revitalizing the performance of hemispherectomy on children in the 1980s. Prior to this, the procedure was not nearly as widespread, and we did not know as much about it. Dr. Carson really opened the floodgates on this area of brain research and procedure. The brain's greatest healing mechanism, neuroplasticity is the tendency for neurons in undamaged sections of the brain to rearrange themselves to take on the functions of the damaged or missing brain parts. Neuroplasticity is a tricky thing to explain, but we do know that it's greater in children. Oddly enough, people who are of higher intelligence when they receive brain damage are among the most unfortunate, as their brain does not heal as well as people with a lower IQ. In fact, there was one case where a patient was of average intelligence before the procedure, and basically became a genius after his brain restructured itself. Most, if not all, patients who undergo this procedure suffer from mild to severe paralysis on the side of their body opposite to their removed brain hemisphere.
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