When surgeons removed one sixth of a child's brain, here's what happened

Surgeons removed part of a child's brain for epilepsy and it rewired itself.

Story highlights

  • The brain surgery that ended boy's epileptic seizures also removed parts of the right hemisphere
  • His brain rewired itself so that the left hemisphere now performs work normally done by the right

(CNN)What does a child's brain, which repaired itself after a full third of the right hemisphere was surgically removed, teach us about all brains?

Our developing brains find unique ways to rewire themselves as necessary, suggests a new case study of a nearly 11-year old boy referred to only as "UD" (his privacy is respected by never revealing his true name).
The operation when he was 6 years 10 months old eliminated UD's entire occipital lobe, home of the brain's vision processing center, and most of his temporal lobe, where both visual and auditory signals land and then get sorted. Yet, UD's left hemisphere compensated for any losses on the right side of his brain by assuming the roles of both hemispheres. As a result, both his cognitive and visual function are now intact.