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It’s not rocket science • Damn interesting



An x-ray of a 7 year old girl with the right hemisphere completely removed
An x-ray of a 7 year old girl with the right hemisphere completely removed

One of the most dramatic surgical interventions in human patients is hemispherectomy, or the removal or deactivation of half of the brain. This is a last resort strategy often used to end major seizures. In 75 percent of patients, the seizures stop completely after the operation.

Most patients who have a hemispherectomy are very young; Children̵

7;s brains are still developing and therefore can handle brain damage much more easily than that of adults. A child’s right hemisphere can do the jobs that the left hemisphere would have done, even most of the functions of language. Hemispherectomies often cause partial paralysis on one side of the body, but there is no evidence that a hemispherectomy in a young child undermines memory, cognitive function, or even personality.

In rare cases, a hemispherectomy is required due to trauma. In 1987, Ohio, 14-year-old Ahad Israfil was accidentally shot in the right side of his head. Most of the right hemisphere was destroyed, but Israfil survived five hours of the operation and attempted to speak shortly after regaining consciousness. He remained in a wheelchair but graduated from college. He lived until October 18, 2019 when he died in a nursing home at the age of 47.


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