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Split Brain Syndrome: Understanding the Disconnected Hemispheres of Our Brain

Sona Soban James Sunday, July 24, 2022
Split Brain Syndrome: Understanding the Disconnected Hemispheres of Our Brain

In Arlington, Texas, screenwriter Barry Morrow contacted Kim Peek for his upcoming film "Rain Man" in 1984. It went on to win the Academy Award for "Best Picture" in the following year at the Oscars and the "Golden Bear," the highest award at the 39th Berlin International Film Festival. Kim Peek was an American savant. He had a great memory, but he also had issues with daily life activities, which could result from a developmental handicap caused by congenital brain abnormalities. Peek had previously been labelled with autism, but he is now believed to have FG syndrome. Peek was born with macrocephaly, cerebellar damage, and agenesis of the corpus callosum, a disease in which the nerve bundle that links the brain's two hemispheres is absent.

Even though Peek was born with a partial lack of the corpus callosum, people may entirely remove the corpus callosum through surgery. Split-brain surgery, also known as corpus callosotomy, is a radical procedure for epileptic seizure patients. The split-brain condition is caused by the fact that the brain's two hemispheres are now divided or split, making it impossible for them to share information. In addition, the hemispheric division has an impact on behaviour and agency.

Patients who had this surgery frequently developed acute disconnection syndrome, a set of problems that lasted only a few days. The patient's everyday behaviour remained unchanged after they had recovered from the trauma. It's difficult to tell the difference between individuals who have had surgery and those who haven't. However, there are specific nuanced approaches to employ to comprehend these distinctions.

A simple way to understand the difference between someone with split-brain syndrome and someone who does not is to blindfold the two and give them a paper clip to grip their left hand. Due to the functioning of the brain's right hemisphere, a person who has not had split-brain surgery will realize that they have a paper clip in their left hand. The corpus callosum will convey this information from the right to the left half of the brain, allowing the individual to physically tell you that they are clutching a paper clip in their left hand because the language centre of a human is in the left brain. On the other hand, a person who has had split-brain surgery will be able to understand they are holding a paper clip in their left hand due to the right half of the brain. Still, since the language centres are on the left hemisphere, they won't be able to communicate this fact due to the lack of transfer of information to the left half of the brain. It is to be noted that both the persons will be able to understand and communicate that they are holding a paper clip if they are not blindfolded, as the person's eyes will see the information.

Michael Gazzaniga and Roger W. Sperry first studied split brains. The split-brain syndrome was discovered in multiple patients who had had a full callosotomy. In 1981, Sperry and Gazzaniga shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their split-brain research. Roger Sperry pursued this until he died in 1994. Michael Gazzaniga continues to research the split brain. Other physiologists and the general public have gained a much better grasp of the split-brain phenomena resulting from these investigations.

Disclaimer: This article titled “Split Brain Syndrome: Understanding the Disconnected Hemispheres of Our Brain” is solely written by me and has not been taken from any other source. If taken I have given due credit to the original author in my article. I have not used any images or text without the original owner’s permission. I take sole responsibility of any dispute arise in terms of copyright regarding this article.

References:

Kim Peek - Wikipedia

Rain Man - Wikipedia

Corpus callosum - Wikipedia

Split Brains | Psychology Today

Michael Gazzaniga - Wikipedia

Roger Sperry’s Split Brain Experiments (1959–1968) | The Embryo Project Encyclopedia (asu.edu)

Sona Soban James
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