even if Half of your brain If you lose it, your brain function will not be reduced by half, but the question is, will we still have the ability to measure words and images?

An unprecedented study in Brain fluidity and visual perception It has been done, which shows that people such as children who have undergone surgery and half of their brains have been removed, have the ability to recognize the differences between pairs of words and faces 80% of the time. The amount of removed brain tissue shows the prominence of the brain’s capacity and its limitations in its extraordinary neural reorganization and assimilation, despite severe surgery or severe injury.

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Losing half of the brain does not halve brain function

These findings, which were published by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh in the Journal Penas Published, the first rise to recognition Neural flexibility In humans and understanding whether one hemisphere of the brain has the ability to perform its usual functions despite the disconnection between the two hemispheres or not. Imagine if your right or left hemisphere were completely destroyed, but would this completely disrupt your brain function?

Lead author Professor Marilyn Behrman says:

The question is whether the brain is pre-wired with its functional capabilities from birth or whether it dynamically organizes its functions during maturation and biological environmental experience.

Working with monohemispheric patients allowed us to study the upper limits of the functional capacity of the cerebral hemispheres. With the results of this study, we now look into the window of human neural plasticity to finally better understand the brain’s reorganizing capabilities.

How can nerves adapt to half of the brain?

Neuroplasticity It is a process that allows the brain to change its activity, if necessary, and adapt structurally or functionally in response to environmental changes. And even if we pay attention to the flexibility of the brain, which reaches its peak during the early stages of its development, it shows that our brain changes well until adulthood and adapts to its surrounding environment.

Half of the brain

As people get older, the two halves of our brain half sphere are called, increasingly perform more specialized activities. Even if this division of labor is not absolute, the two hemispheres assume distinct primary responsibilities towards each other; That is, the left hemisphere becomes the main place for reading printed words, and the right hemisphere becomes a special place for recognizing adult faces.

But neural flexibility also has limitations; This means that the functional preference of the hemispheres becomes more rigid over time. In some cases, adults who have suffered a brain injury due to a stroke or tumor or trauma may have reading or vision problems, depending on whether the left or right hemisphere of their brain is affected.

How did researchers identify sick people?

Before any answer, in this area, another question comes to mind that what happens when the brain is forced to change and adapt while it is still extremely flexible? To answer this question, the researchers looked at a special group of patients who had one of their hemispheres surgically removed during childhood or had epileptic attacks.

Hemispheric extravasation is relatively rare, with scientists rarely having access to more than a handful of patients at any given time. But the Pitt University team found an unexpected method at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic: the normalization of telemedicine services, which enabled the enrollment of 40 hemispherectomy patients.

Half of the brain
Marlene Behrmann

To assess word recognition capacity, the researchers presented participants with pairs of words that differed by only one letter each, such as “Soap; Soup=” or “Tank/Clove” (=Tack; Tank). To test how well children recognize different faces, the scientists also showed them pairs of pictures. Each of these stimuli appeared on the screen for only a fraction of a second, and participants had to decide whether the word or face pair was the same or different.

Where will the future of research on people who have lost half of their brain reach?

Surprisingly, the available hemisphere supported both of these functions. The capacity to recognize words and faces differed between controls and those who had their hemispheres removed, but the differences were less than 10% and the average accuracy was more than 80%. In a direct comparison between the adapted hemispheres in the patients and the healthy group, the accuracy of the patients in face and word recognition was noticeable regardless of the removed hemisphere.

Michael Granwater, senior author and PhD student in the Medical Scientist Education Program at Pitt School of Medicine, said:

“To be sure, losing half the brain is not equivalent to losing half its function. We cannot predict with certainty what will happen for every child who may be affected by a hemispherectomy, but the performance we see in these patients is encouraging. “The more we can understand about neuroplasticity after surgery, the more information we can provide to parents who must make difficult decisions!”

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