A new study has found how the brain adapts after a hemispherectomy to treat childhood epilepsy
Despite having just half of a brain, a new study suggests that some neural connections appear stronger than those in a fully intact brain.
A detailed study of six adults who had half of their brain removed as children for extreme epilepsy treatment reveals that brains can reorganize and bounce back.
As serious as the surgery is, many of these individuals have language and thinking skills to retain or recover. Caltech researchers and their colleagues discovered one way the brain could compensate in a new study.
While the six participants are rested on an MRI scanner, researchers measured blood flow in seven brain regions that controlled jobs such as vision, attention, and movement.
In the experiment, blood flow served as a proxy for brain activity. When activity changes in one part of the brain with activity in another, this means that the regions work together and share information. These are indicators of strong connections that are known to be crucial to a healthy brain.
These seven brain systems appeared to work normally in the six people who had hemispherectomies. In fact, the connections between those seven systems in six people with whole brains were even stronger than those connections. The researchers report in Cell Reports on November 19.
Such stronger than normal connections could help explain how the researchers suspect that these post-surgery brains compensate for missing parts.
Understanding more about how the brain reorganizes after a major change could lead to new approaches to speed recovery from common brain injuries for people.


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