The human body is so adaptable that we can’t even start to think about its greatness. Not a single person realized that a 24 year old woman was missing the most important part of her brain, the cerebellum, until she was hospitalized in the Chinese PLA General Hospital of Jinan Military Area Command in Shandong Province. She complained on frequent dizziness and nausea. According to the woman, she had trouble walking steadily for most of her life and based on what her mother stated, she began walking at the age of seven and started speaking clearly at the age of six. When the doctors did a CAT scan, they immediately found the root cause of her problem – her brain was missing the cerebellum.
The Importance of Cerebellum
Often known as the little brain, the cerebellum is situated below the two brain hemispheres. Although it represents 10% of the entire brain’s volume, it contains 50% its neurons. The woman, who has the entire cerebellum missing, has joined a selected group of just nine people who suffer from the same health condition. According to the doctors, this health disorder hardly affects individuals simply because they don’t survive long enough to face the consequences of a missing cerebellum. One of the doctors mentioned that only through an autopsy do they discover the entire cerebellum missing, but the woman’s case was different.
The main task of the cerebellum is to control voluntary movements and balance, it also helps individuals to speak and learn motor skills. Problems in the cerebellum can cause severe mental impairment, movement disorders, epilepsy as well as a dangerous accumulation of fluid in the brain. But this woman’s case was different; she only suffered mild to moderate motor deficiency and slight speech problems. According to the doctors, these effects are “less than would be expected” and state that her case highlights the outstanding adaptability of the human brain. According to Mario Manto, a researcher at the Free University of Brussels in Belgium, “These rare cases are interesting to understand how the brain circuitry works and compensates for missing parts.”
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