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    The Man With Almost No Brain

    Monday, February 4, 2019 Last Updated 2019-10-25T11:24:05Z
    Not only does the brain control every facet of our lives, it constantly works under intense pressure—sometimes quite literally.

    For example, take the 2003 tale of an unnamed French citizen whose unusual story was published in The Lancet.

    Since his identity was kept a secret, we’ll call him Jacques.Jacques was a married man with two kids who worked as a civil servant in Marseille.

    One day, his left leg felt rather weak, so he visited a local hospital. As the doctors ran through his medical history, they learned that when Jacques was a baby, he’d suffered from hydrocephalus, which is a buildup of liquid inside the brain.

    The “water” had been drained away, but the doctors decided to take a few scans and see if Jacques’s problem was neurological in nature.What they found was astonishing.

    The majority of Jacques’s head was filled with fluid. Normally, the human brain is protected by lateral ventricles, which are structures filled with cerebrospinal fluid that act as a cushion for our little gray cells.

    Liquid flows through these chambers all the time, but in Jacques’s case, the fluids weren’t draining.

    Over time, the buildup caused his lateral ventricles to swell so much that his brain had been flattened to a thin sheet.

    Doctors estimated that his brain mass had been reduced by 50–70 percent, affecting the areas in charge of motion, language, emotion, and, well, everything.

    Shockingly, Jacques was fine. While his IQ was only 75, he wasn’t mentally challenged. He held a steady job, raised a family, and didn’t have trouble interacting with others.

    Over time, his brain had adapted to all that pressure, and even though he had fewer neurons that most, Jacques was still a fully functional human being.

    And don’t worry, his leg was fine. Once doctors inserted a shunt and drained the fluid, his limb returned to normal.

    However, his brain is still pretty small, showing that you don’t have to be a genius to work for the government.


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