"Brain’s ‘Plasticity’ Amazes As Boy Recovers From Drastic Surgery" - Dennis Thompson
The developing brain of a growing child has incredible ways of compensating for the loss of an essential brain region, a new case study shows. A young boy has retained his ability to recognize faces even though surgeons removed one-sixth of his brain, including the region that normally handles that task, his doctors said. Essentially, the other side of the 10-year-old's brain has shouldered the added burden of facial recognition on top of its normal duties, in an astounding feat of adaptation. Even more compelling, the boy's intellect, visual perception and object recognition skills have all remained age-appropriate, even with a large portion of his brain gone. This study shows that "plasticity is real. Plasticity is key—your brain's golden art of adaptation," said Steven Wolf, MD, associate professor of neurology and pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "If we get to these kids when they're young enough, before they lay their permanent pathways, the brain is plastic enough for it to adapt and to overcome," said Dr. Wolf. His center has performed the procedure around 500 times over the past decade.
- Steven Wolf, MD, Associate Professor, Neurology, Pediatrics, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Director, Pediatric Epilepsy, Co-Director, Epilepsy Unit, Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Director, Pediatric Neurology, Mount Sinai St. Luke’s-Mount Sinai West, Co-Director, Tuberous Sclerosis Clinic