Re: Brain development

James Rogers (
Mon, 16 Jun 1997 11:59:02 -0700

At 09:00 PM 6/14/97 +0200, you wrote:
>On Sat, 14 Jun 1997 wrote:
>> Here's another interesting tidbit on the brain size business -
>> Occaisionally people go in for brain scans and there's nothing there. This
>> caused great consternation on the part of the doctors until they realized
>> that these people do have brains, it's just that they have them in the
>> brainstem area. I believe the problem is related to hydoencephelopathy
>> in that excessive fluid pressure pushes the brain into the spinal column
>> during fetal development. This condition is called microencephelopathy
>> (sp?). It's very rare.

I also remember studies of individuals who by some fault of nature were
missing non-trivial sections of the human brain (like most of a
hemisphere), but who otherwise were indistinguishable from normally
developed individuals.

>I guess this is another one of persistant scientific myths floating
>around. Some months ago this condition was discussed on
>bionet.neuroscience, the apparent consensus being that there is very
>little to the original paper. On similiar vein, anybody knows where the
>bike gang alpha with nonconvoluted brain mythoid comes from? Curious.

Sounds like Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, a common symptom of which is
significantly decreased convolution in the brain. According to my parents
(who live in an area of Alaska where FAS is prevalent in many people),
individuals with FAS can often be distinguished by their behavior. They
tend to be aggressive and have a hard time conforming to social norms.
Part of this may be a direct result of their significantly hindered ability
to learn. Although most FAS victims do not have the physical symptoms many
people associate with mental retardation (i.e. Down's Syndrome), most have
unusually low IQs and have an extremely difficult time grasping complex
concepts. Many never get beyond an elementary school education.

(I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV)

-James Rogers