Is your brain really necessary?
This is the title of a famous paper published in the journal Science by Roger Lewin, concerning the research of the late Dr. John Lorber, professor of neurology at the university of Sheffield, UK.
[Roger Lewin (December 12, 1980). “Is Your Brain Really Necessary?” SCIENCE 210 (4475): 1232–1234. doi:10.1126/science.7434023. PMID 7434023]
When Sheffield’s campus doctor was treating one of the mathematics students for a minor ailment, he noticed that the student’s head was a little larger than normal. The doctor referred the student to professor Lorber for further examination.
The student in question was academically bright, had a reported IQ of 126 and was expected to graduate. When he was examined by CAT-scan, however, Lorber discovered that he had virtually no brain at all. The student had less than 1 millimetre of cerebral tissue lining the skull, a condition called hydrocephalus, in which the cerebrospinal fluid pressurizes and destroys the brain.
Despite no brain, this Sheffield student had lived a perfectly normal life and went on to gain an honors degree in mathematics. His case is by no means as rare as you might think. Continue reading