Thursday, October 26, 2006

The brain is an amazing, amazing beast

rainbow brainCoolest story I've heard in a long time: turns out that Scott Adams, creater of Dilbert, has been unable to speak for some 18 months (not the cool part, but who knew?). That is, he could give public speeches (e.g., perform) but not carry on a conversation (create simple meaningful and audible sentences) -- sounds weird, but my neuroscientist pals will recognize that the brain compartmentalizes different tasks in unusual and sometimes unintuitive ways.

Anyway, despite being told that nobody has ever recovered from this syndrome (i.e., see here), he kept tinkering and experimenting, and then stumbled upon a way to retrain his brain to find a route to his lips.
When I say my brain remapped, that’s the best description I have. During the worst of my voice problems, I would know in advance that I couldn’t get a word out. It was if I could feel the lack of connection between my brain and my vocal cords. But suddenly, yesterday, I felt the connection again. It wasn’t just being able to speak, it was KNOWING how. The knowing returned.
Pretty darned cool, that brain -- guess that's part of what drew me to neuroscience in the first place. How things develop, fix themselves, work. The more you know, the more you're blown away by increments in our understanding, and by the adaptive leaps the system can make every day.

(via boing boing)

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