This Woman Had No Idea Her Brain Lacked A Cerebellum

If you were born with only half a brain, doctors would likely say your chances at a normal life are slim, if not nonexistent. But a 24-year-old woman defied those odds. In 2014, the woman (whose name was not released to the public) went to a doctor after suffering dizziness and nausea. She eventually went through a CT scanner where doctors made the shocking discovery that she was missing her entire cerebellum.

The cerebellum is the part of the brain that sits below the brain's two hemisphere. It's believed that the cerebellum holds up to half of your brain's total neurons, and is responsible for controlling motor skills and speech, and maintaining balance. Seeing this woman functioning normally without her cerebellum sent a shockwave to the medical community, confirming that science still has a lot to learn about the human brain. This woman's case did show the amazing plasticity of the brain—she was able to maintain a relatively normal lifestyle even without a cerebellum. She didn't speak until she was six, and didn't walk until age seven, but without a cerebellum, it's impressive that she learned those things at all. Hear the whole story in the video below, plus learn more about the brain.

The Woman Who Lived With Only Half A Brain

She didn't even know she lacked a cerebellum.

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An Introduction To The Cerebellum

What does it actually do?

Does Having A Big Brain Make You Smarter?

Does size matter?

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. If brain size correlated with intelligence, the sperm whale would be the world's smartest animal. 00:47

  2. Neanderthals had larger brains than humans. 02:37

  3. Einstein's brain was no bigger than average, but it did have areas that appeared more developed. 04:15

Can You Live With Only Half Your Brain?

How plastic is your brain, really?

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Written by Curiosity Staff August 12, 2016