A 24-year-old Chinese woman recently went to the hospital complaining of dizziness and nausea. She was most likely not prepared for the cause of the discomfort. The otherwise healthy grown woman does not have a cerebellum. Amazing — it’s the ninth case in medical history.
That’s right. The cerebellum is a fairly sizable part of the brain — the name literally means “little brain” — and is important for motor control and some cognitive functions. A brain scan of the woman with the missing cortex is on the left. A normal brain is pictured to the right.
However, the fact that she lived without this vital region just goes to show you how adaptable the human brain is as an organ. The woman reported having some problems with motor control. She also didn’t speak until age six or walk until age seven. But you can’t really blame her. She was missing a big part of her brain!
This is about as rare as rare medical conditions get. The Chinese woman is one of only nine people in history known to have survived without a cerebellum. As such, the prognosis for her is unclear, though there is some research that indicates people with this condition die young. It’s already a miracle she’s survived this long though.
Pictures: Feng Yu et. al. / Shutterstock