1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

"The brain has a backup system": Why people missing much of their brain can miraculously recover

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by sun rise, Oct 25, 2021.

  1. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2014
    Messages:
    64,386
    Ratings:
    +31,634
    Religion:
    Love
    The basis of this piece is physical. If a person without much brain thinks and acts normally, something other than the brain is at work.

    "The brain has a backup system": Why people missing much of their brain can miraculously recover

    I read this piece in Reuters Science about a French civil servant who was 44 years old. He went to the hospital complaining of a mild weakness in his left leg. The doctors performed a lot of scans, and what they found was that he had hardly any brain tissue.

    His head was full of cerebral spinal fluid. [The doctor] in Marseilles was quoted as saying the images were most unusual. The brain was virtually absent. The patient was a married father of two children. This is what really got me going. The patient was apparently leading a normal life, despite having cranium filled with spinal fluid and very little brain tissue. When I read that, I started looking into the literature and I soon found that there were a lot of reports and children, for example, who have had hemispherectomies, meaning that one half of their brain was removed because of epilepsy.

    I looked also at adults who have had large parts of their brain removed. In most cases, not all of them, but a large majority of cases, it did not seem to affect their intelligence or their cognition, their thought processes or behavior. When I thought about that, it occurred to me that if people who lack a large of the brain can function normally, or even relatively normally, there must exist some kind of a backup system like we have in our computers that somehow makes up for what's lacking and will send messages to the brain — whatever is left of it — so that the person can function normally.
    ...
    That's also what I'm saying about the embodied mind. That it is all. It's really a network that is constantly vibrating and changing. You can't say it's the brain, or you can't say it's the heart. It's the whole body.
    ...
     
    • Informative Informative x 6
    • Like Like x 1
    • Useful Useful x 1
  2. We Never Know

    We Never Know Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2019
    Messages:
    8,126
    Ratings:
    +5,576
    Religion:
    It exists

    There's a "second brain" in your stomach. It influences your mood, what you eat, the kinds of diseases you get, as well as the decisions you make. And you thought it was all in your head!

    Your Backup Brain
     
    • Informative Informative x 2
  3. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Abnormal before it was fashionable
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    198,819
    Ratings:
    +72,248
    Religion:
    Atheist
    If the claims of the article are to be believed.
     
  4. Suave

    Suave Simulated character

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2020
    Messages:
    1,570
    Ratings:
    +1,034
    Religion:
    Christian Matrixism
    Neuralink might heal illness. Elon Musk's Neuralink's goal is to implant chips into people's brains in order to heal many of their illnesses.


     
  5. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2011
    Messages:
    23,376
    Ratings:
    +15,100
    Religion:
    Agnostic
    I remember seeing something about hemispherectomies on the Phil Donahue Show a long time ago. To me, it gave new meaning to the phrase "anyone with half a brain..."

    But yes, I can see how the brain can adjust to it, just like other organs might adjust if one has one lung or one kidney. Of course, I don't think anyone could function if there was no brain at all.

    I wonder if they could ever someday perform a brain transplant. That would be kind of weird.
     
  6. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    Messages:
    27,719
    Ratings:
    +12,583
    Religion:
    Atheist, Advaita (Non-duality), Orthodox Hindu
    It is no miracle. There are a 100 billion neurons in the brain and bits of information are placed in many places. Computers also have 'fsck' (file system consistency check), which can correct certain situations.
     
  7. AlexanderG

    AlexanderG Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2021
    Messages:
    534
    Ratings:
    +1,104
    Religion:
    Atheist
    In these sorts of cases, there can be a superficial appearance of normalcy, but if you run a comprehensive cognitive test on these patients you'll find a whole host of deficiencies, both subtle and major. You can see this in dementia patients, too, where sticking to their longstanding routines will let them appear mostly functional, but any perturbation (sleep disruptions, medication changes, stressors, schedule changes) and their mental faculties collapse.

    Brains have a lot of interconnectivity, and you can sever many connections in a particular associative network while leaving relatively few remaining, and the functionality can still mostly work. But the mental resilience and adaptability becomes much more fragile, and the brain also struggles to compensate for gaps by interpolating the missing content (filling it the gaps with an approximation). Over time, it can compensate to a greater degree with some rewiring.

    Here is one known example, illustrated by a line of study: Brain rewires itself after damage or injury, life scientists discover

    Edit: Also, in the French case you linked, his condition would've resulted in a slow, gradual reduction of space his brain could occupy, allowing his brain ample time to adjust by restructuring its architecture to fit the space available to it. This is described in the last paragraph of the article. I bet if you looked at the extensive areas of brain around the edges of his skull, you would find it to have much denser connectivity than usual for that section of a normal brain. If you were to suddenly remove a healthy person's brain except for the portion this man appears to have left, that person would be vegetative.

    So, this article is more about the brain's ability to adapt and restructure its architecture over time, rather than a finding that our consciousness or cognitive ability do not depend on a physical brain.
     
    #7 AlexanderG, Oct 25, 2021
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2021
    • Informative Informative x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  8. ben d

    ben d Being

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2007
    Messages:
    9,676
    Ratings:
    +1,251
    Religion:
    Yes
  9. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2017
    Messages:
    4,699
    Ratings:
    +2,075
    Religion:
    Christian
    I don't think that a person could literally have a skull filled with spinal fluid and function normally. But I do very much believe that much of what we think of as the brain or the mind is inseparable from our bodies. In fact, much of what we understand about anything is inseparable from our system of language and, as such, is embedded in social-cultural systems of information exchange. In this way we are creatures like ants whose intelligence is very much in our collective behavior as much as our individual behavior. Our ability to work together and to support each other while we individually specialize allows us to become wicked smart in concise areas which makes us feel like we are just amazing...but that amazingness relies on a whole network of other people for it to take shape and allow us individually be fruitful in such micro-domains of knowledge.

    On the other hand people with fairly small legions in the brain suffer quite debilitating consequences that leave them unable to take care of themselves.
     
  10. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2019
    Messages:
    8,592
    Ratings:
    +7,597
    Religion:
    none
    Maybe after all it is true that we only use 10% of our brain.

    Jk, as @AlexanderG pointed out, the brains backup system is the brain. There is some plasticity that allows us to function by repurposing lesser used areas. E.g. blind people have their visual cortex repurposed by the auditory system.
    We have a vast number of cases of loss of function through injury or stroke which indicate no "backup system" in the form you propose and a few cases with (seemingly) no loss of function. The few cases don't invalidate the general knowledge, they only indicate that more study is needed.
     
  11. Conscious thoughts

    Conscious thoughts Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2018
    Messages:
    20,799
    Ratings:
    +16,055
    Religion:
    Sufism
    This just show that the brain is not the real " you" the spirit/soul is not in the body brain ;)
     
    • Winner Winner x 1
  12. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Silent Generation - so don't expect much
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2018
    Messages:
    9,406
    Ratings:
    +5,009
    Religion:
    Fellowship of the Mutable (agnostic atheist)
    • Informative Informative x 2
  13. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2018
    Messages:
    9,118
    Ratings:
    +2,298
    Religion:
    The Wrong One
    Stop reading all of an article and then apply critical thinking to it. That is not how it is done. :D
     
    • Funny Funny x 2
  14. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Messages:
    39,294
    Ratings:
    +35,344
    Religion:
    None

    I think that's not correct, should it be we use 100% of the brain 10% of the time ;-)
     
    • Creative Creative x 1
  15. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2018
    Messages:
    9,118
    Ratings:
    +2,298
    Religion:
    The Wrong One
    That is a folk belief, the 10%. You know it and I know it.
     
  16. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2011
    Messages:
    23,376
    Ratings:
    +15,100
    Religion:
    Agnostic
    The brain is still a mystery.

    [​IMG]
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
  17. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member
    It's My Birthday!

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    Messages:
    4,564
    Ratings:
    +2,836
    Religion:
    None
    Well not entirely normally since he had a sub-normal IQ and who knows what other side-effects. He did have some brain matter and, as the article makes clear, the brain (and body) is quite good at rerouting functionality where necessary. If there was something other than the brain involved, why would the loss of brain matter have any impact at all?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2019
    Messages:
    8,592
    Ratings:
    +7,597
    Religion:
    none
    I still think it is a misquote. As I said elsewhere it should read
    "We only use 10% of the potential of our brain."
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  19. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2011
    Messages:
    23,376
    Ratings:
    +15,100
    Religion:
    Agnostic
    You don't really hear that about other organs, though. We never hear "we only use 10% of our stomachs" or "we only use 10% of our pancreas."
     
  20. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2019
    Messages:
    8,592
    Ratings:
    +7,597
    Religion:
    none
    Unless you are an athlete, you use only X% of the potential of your muscles.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
Loading...