May 19, 2012

Brain injury and genius: the "acquired savant."

"What happens is that there is injury... There is then recruitment of still-intact cortical tissue. There is rewiring [of brain signals] through that intact tissue, and then there is the release of dormant potential within that brain area."

23 comments:

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Before the arrow went through his head, Steve Martin wasn't funny at all.

madAsHell said...

Dave Duerson couldn't be reached for comment.

edutcher said...

Muybridge may not be the best example in the world for this. A dozen years after the accident, he murdered a man he only thought may have been the father of his wife's son.

That said, it's fascinating what some of the other examples can do. We only use, what?, 10 percent of our brains' potential and people who have debilitating injuries regularly develop amazing compensations for them, so this may not be as surprising as we might think.

ndspinelli said...

Madashell, LOL, but you're going to hell my son.

I suffered a severe concussion and orbital bone fracture playing football in high school. I became a tic tac toe savant.

Jim Gust said...

Similar examples are found in Oliver Sachs' musicophilia. Spooky.

jimh said...

Will our descendants learn to unlock this potential (without the corresponding damage) and view us as primitive and unintelligent?

I'm okay with that.

Geoff Matthews said...

Will these people be banned from the academic Olympics because of an artificial advantage?
Much like the blade runner?

madAsHell said...

No disrespect intended! I can't believe he's gone.

I read a story the other day about Tony Dorsett. It seems that he suffered a concussion during a game, but the Cowboys refused to pull him from the field. The players on both sides could see that he was concussed, and making mistakes.

I don't understand the coaching decision, but I think we have come a long way in understanding concussions. We also have bigger, and faster football players fueled by steroids.

n.n said...

It may be caused by either reorganization or renewed focus, which may also represent an equivalent process.

Greg Hlatky said...

A few years ago I was at a dog show where a judge tripped over a mat in the ring and fell, hitting her head on the floor.

Later in the day, after her assignment was finished, I talked with her and expressed my concern. She said she now felt fine. I replied, "Yes, but you're talking with a Russian accent."

chickelit said...

♪ Newton got beaned by the apple good, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah ♪
link

Christoph said...

The brain may be holographic.

I don't know much about that theory in detail, but the fact it was developed in conjunction with David Bohm, whose idea of thought as a system I find persuasive, adds credibility for me.

It also has some evidence behind it.

Incidentally, Thomas Metzinger's model of consciousness as a multi-faceted ego tunnel resulting in a phenomenal self (in other words, there is no self, except that it arises as a type of process not a thing or entity), I also find convincing.

Watch a few of Metzinger's videos. It's fascinating.

lemondog said...

Every time one zaps the brain, if there is gain in one area wouldn't there be loss in another area?

Wally Kalbacken said...

I'm starting to look at those concussions I took a few years back in an entirely new light.

JAL said...

Brian Williams had a special piece on young female soccer players who had received concussions a couple weeks ago. (The Rock -- or whatever his news magazine TV thing is called.)

The girls affected by concussions did not become savant-like in any way.

It was disturbing.

Robert Cook said...

"Will our descendants learn to unlock this potential (without the corresponding damage) and view us as primitive and unintelligent?"

Shit, anyone who's honest and discerning can see now that we're primitive and unintelligent.

bgates said...

So there is still hope for Obama.

Lem said...

It sounds like science fiction. But the reality may be even more outlandish.

Crack bait?

Could genes be more than a way to pass on physical traits? Could they, in fact, also be used to transmit knowledge from one generation to another? If so, what kind?

no more classrooms :0

walter said...

Gives credence to the threat/promise "Knock some sense into you"

Yes, please.

Stephen Martino MD said...

As a neurologist I don't recommend hitting your head to become smarter. It usually only works in the movies.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

"Some savants are very disabled," said Treffert, "yet they know the rules of math, they know the rules of music, they know the rules of art. But they've never been taught that. Well, how can that get there? The only way it can get there is genetically."

Interesting article, but I lost all respect for Treffert at this point.

Above all else, our brains are in the business of pattern recognition. Babies don't need to be taught language, they learn it themselves by hearing it in context. There's no reason the same thing couldn't be happening somewhere in the back of our brains when we hear jazz or classical music, or encounter mathematical relationships in our day-to day lives.

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