There are a lot of sexist jokes based on the question of how many neurons a woman’s brain has (especially if she’s blond). But the reality will leave us speechless.
Check this out: Doctors attending a 39-year-old Chinese woman complaining of feeling weak found she had just half a brain!
Moreover, the woman from Wuhan city (eastern China) bears a completely normal life and only visited the hospital when she felt weak and stiff. But she really misses the left hemisphere of her brain. “On the MRI scans we were surprised to see that she only has gray matter on the right side. Our usual understanding is that the left brain controls language. But this patient has no problem communicating with people.”, said Zhang Linhong, director of Neural Rehabilitation Department at the local hospital, told ANANOVA.
“My daughter lives a very normal life. She graduated from high school with good marks. Her memory is very good. She remembers phone numbers and names immediately.”, declared the patient’s mother.
This case comes after in July 2007 a French team discovered a 44-year-old male patient with an unusually tiny brain: just a quarter of the normal size. Still, the man had an entirely normal life.
Scan images of the brain revealed a huge fluid-filled chamber (named ventricle) occupying most of the skull box, leaving little more than a thin layer of brain tissue. Ventricles are normal tiny chambers filled with cerebrospinal fluid that cushions the brain.
The man was a married man, father of two children and worked as a civil servant. He went to the hospital after he felt mild weakness in his left leg. While a child, the man has had a shunt inserted into his head to drain away hydrocephalus (water in the brain) and the shunt was removed when he was 14 years old.
The man scored 75 at IQ tests, below the average score of 100 but not classifying him as mentally retarded or disabled. The whole brain was reduced, frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital lobes, on both left and right hemispheres. These areas control motion, sensibility, language, vision, audition, and emotional and cognitive functions. It seems that the brain’s plasticity adapted to some damage. The Chinese case just comes to reinforce this idea.