Tuesday thoughts: How little we know

OK.  So I’ve needed to get out of this not-blogging-but-wanting-to-but-then-still-not-doing-it rut for a while now.  The problem has been that I think and read about the brain all day.  So when I get home, I just want to watch The Voice, eat ice cream, and ignore a pile of homework on my desk (at least for a little while). But a friend’s new project to get back on the blogging wagon and my husband’s encouraging words have given me new inspiration.

Hence, Tuesday Thoughts.  Why Tuesday? Because it starts with “t” (who doesn’t love an alliteration?) and because by Thursday, I’m too backed up with work to even dream about blogging.

So here goes…

{Tuesday Thoughts 4.17.12}

One of the things that drew me to autism research was the enigmatic nature of the disorder.  The volume of information we don’t know is astounding, making for a compelling and all-too-important area of study.  Even looking at the brain in general, the processes and circuits scientists have figured out number few compared to the myriads of things that remain unknown.

Here’s an example. Someone with this brain, if even alive, should be severely impaired, lacking basic life sustaining functions, language, emotion, motor capabilities, among many other major things.

Nope. He’s a father of two and a french civil servant, whose extremely unique brain was only discovered because he went to the doctor due to mild weakness in his left leg.  As a baby, this man suffered from hydrocephalus, a condition caused by many factors in which the the fluid that cushions the brain inside skull begins to build up.  Needless to say, this is a very severe case. The fact that minor leg weakness and a below average IQ of 75 are this man’s only impairments is unheard of.

My thoughts on this Tuesday? We can study the brain for centuries more and we will still encounter cases like this.  Ones that challenge the most basic understandings we hold dear. Ones that drive us to humility and even leave us confused.  May we always respond with awe at how little we know.

Feuillet, L., Dufour, H., & Pelletier, J. (2007). Brain of a white-collar worker. The Lancet, 370, 262.


{This post was originally published at my previous blog, http://postitjunkie.blogspot.com/}


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