Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, and the Plasticity of the Brain

I'm intrigued by something seen when observing those of us born without the Corpus Callosum. I've met enough of us now, to know that there seems to be an entire spectrum of disability and ability, symptom, manifestation of the ACC birth defect, etc... In short:  I wonder why and by what mechanism those of us born without a CC adapt and function in the world.  In science speak, each of us born with ACC have very distinctly different phenotypes, while we all share many of the more common developmental, communications,  and socialization issues in common, how this "plays out in the person's life is as individual as is the person.  

The question remains, by what power do our non callosul brains rewire or make best use of whatever the current neurology is.  This power of adaptation, this plasticity of the brain.  This research excites me.

On the more science fiction side of things, I remember discussing with a Dr. the possibility that one day my own stem cells could be used to grow me a corpus callosum.  I commented that I wouldn't think the brain could adapt to such changes and they pretty much agreed with me.  Yet, there is the study of plasticity of our neurology.  In short, selling ourselves short on this with the old fashioned view that of course the brain and mind could not adapt to such a cloned CC.  

The brain retains its unique ability towards adaptation, especially in the first months and years of our lives.  Neurons actually migrating throughout the brain and spinal column.  Why should we automatically assume the brain and the living organism could not itself adapt to such a change? 

Anyhow, I've always liked mental experiments, so I had to turn it inside out.  Who would that person I know myself to be change, or would he even?  I don't mean neurologically but functionally would a person's world view change or would it, given such an adaptation were possible?  I'll probably never know, but it was an interesting idea to follow. :-)

I hear there has been success in cloning bovine CC, but at the least ambivalent, in honesty the idea of animal experimentation makes me nauseous. 

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming...

~Just Joe

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