The 5 most amazing cases in the history of neuroscience

Mentally handicapped “genius”

  American Kim Pick has an extraordinary memory. He can accurately recall the content of at least 12,000 books, and these books cover all kinds of content, including history, literature, geography, even sports, and so on. However, despite his amazing memory, his average score on the intelligence test was only 87, which was lower than most people at the time. He was also diagnosed with autism and was unable to participate in social activities for a long time. And until now, he has often been unable to fasten the buttons on his shirt and perform some ordinary sports skills.
  Do some people find this familiar? Pique is the prototype of Raymond who has extraordinary memory in the movie “Rain Man”, can accurately remember all the information in the phone book of a big city, but can’t even take care of his life. The movie “Rain Man” is about the warmth of the younger brother Charlie using his brother Raymond’s super memory ability to make money, but the prodigal son turned around in the process of getting along.

Kim Pick

  However, Pique is not a person with extraordinary talents, on the contrary, Pique has birth defects. Currently, neuroscientists generally believe that Pique suffers from FG syndrome. This syndrome is a rare genetic syndrome. The cause is the mutation of one or more recessive genes on the X chromosome, and most patients have low intelligence. Pique’s condition seems to be more serious. Not only is his cerebellum damaged, but his corpus callosum is severely underdeveloped. The corpus callosum is the brain tissue that connects the left and right hemispheres and is responsible for the exchange of information between the left and right hemispheres. There is no nerve bundle in Pique’s corpus callosum. All these have made it difficult for him to socialize, ordinary sports and activities.
  Because other people with FG syndrome do not have the ability of Pique. In addition, many normal adults who had their corpus callosum removed due to disease did not show improvement in memory. On the contrary, they sometimes have uncoordinated left and right hands. For example, the left hand is buttoning while the right hand is unbuttoning. Therefore, FG syndrome and the corpus callosum problem do not explain why Pique has such a strong memory. Pique’s super memory is still a mystery.

“Rain Man” drama picture, left is Raymond
“Dragon face” everywhere you see

  If every face you see becomes a “dragon face”, how would you feel? In 2011, scientists discovered that a 52-year-old woman was suffering from such a mental illness, and this mental illness has been with her since she was a child. This kind of mental illness is called metamorphosis, and it is a mental illness in which facial visual perception is distorted. In the eyes of people suffering from this disease, the faces of others are very distorted and strange.
  In the eyes of this woman, ordinary people’s faces are normal in the first few seconds, but after a few seconds, their faces will gradually transform into dragon faces in black, yellow, and green colors. In addition, she often sees dragon faces emerging from the wall, sockets gradually turning into dragon faces, etc. These dragon faces will gradually “close” to her.
  After the doctor conducted a thorough examination of her brain, it was found that this was probably caused by abnormal white matter in the brain area responsible for facial recognition. This brain area is generally located directly above our right ear, partly in the occipital lobe at the back of our head. But what makes doctors feel very difficult is that they do not have medicine specifically to treat this mental illness, nor can it be cured by surgery. Fortunately, they discovered that the drug originally used to treat Alzheimer’s disease can also relieve her symptoms.
  It’s 2020, and I hope this lady will get better treatment now.
“Hats” everywhere

  First, let us play a small game: look at an object at random, and then say its name. Is it very simple? Here, we should applaud our healthy brain. It is precisely because of its merits that we can complete this extremely difficult game so easily. Why do you say that? Let’s meet Mr. “Dr. P”, let us simply call him Mr. P.
  If Mr. P is asked to read an apple, he can recognize the color of the apple as easily as we do, and then let him touch, taste or smell it, he can also recognize it as easily as we do. But after letting him look at the apple, just ask him what the object is, and Mr. P will say “that’s a little red hat.” Is this situation incredible?
  In fact, Mr. P suffers from a mental illness called visual agnosia. The cause is often damage to the temporal cortex (located just above our ears) and the occipital cortex (located at the back of our head) of the brain. This disease causes people to see things normally, but cannot accurately identify them. The same is true for Mr. P.
  Although a patient with visual agnosia cannot recognize objects normally, other brain functions are often not affected. For example, Mr. P, his touch, smell, taste, hearing, language and memory are intact.

Mr. P regards his wife’s head as a hat

  In Mr. P’s eyes, all human faces and objects are directly like “various folded hats.” This disease caused him to often mistake his wife’s head for his own hat and try to lift it up and put it on when he got up and went out.

The red part is Broca area

  Today, neuroscientists are still unable to find a cure for this disease.
Mr. “Tan”

  In 1861, Dr. Broka in the United States received a special patient. This patient can only say the word “Tan”, so most people at that time called him “Mr. Tan”, but his intelligence and other aspects are normal, and he can understand what others are saying, and can express him with rich gestures the meaning of. Unfortunately, Mr. Tan passed away a few days later before he could get treatment.
  Dr. Broka then performed an autopsy on Mr. Tan, and he found that the middle part of the brain area connected to Mr. Tan’s left temple and directly above the ear was damaged. In the days that followed, Dr. Broca discovered that several similar patients had similar brain injuries.

  Now that area of ​​the brain is called the “Broca area.” A person with damaged brain area can understand language normally, but he will speak intermittently and lack certain bytes. The neuroscientist’s knowledge of Broca’s area comes from Mr. Tan’s case, and his case is now recorded in most psychology and neuroscience textbooks.
  Mr. Tan’s disease is called aphasia. The less damaged the Broca area of ​​the patient is, the more likely it is to recover. With the help of a doctor, re-accepting language training may restore the lost language function. But for severe brain damage like Mr. Tan, doctors have no good solutions.
People who survived after being penetrated through their heads

  If a person is penetrated through the brain by an iron rod with a diameter of about 3 cm, can he still survive? The answer is yes.
  The story takes place in the United States in September 1848. The railroad worker Geki had an accident during his work. An iron rod was ejected, shot in from his left cheek, then penetrated the top of his head, flew out from the top of his head, and then the iron rod fell off. Landed 2.5 meters away. Gage survived miraculously, and was discharged from the hospital two and a half months later, healed in about five months, and his intelligence and memory were still intact.
  But the story is not over yet. In the eyes of everyone, Geki was a “serious and responsible, beginning and end”, a well-known foreman who spoke gentle and amiable, but after the accident, he became irritable, rude, swearing, not persuaded, and self-righteous. , Anticlimactic, dishonest, as if possessed by a demon. What caused Gage’s temperament to change drastically? Neuroscientists have found the answer.
  Neuroscientists later found several cases similar to Gage. Their frontal lobe was also severely damaged. They survived just like Gage. But their personalities have also changed drastically in the bad direction: stealing, lying, swearing, etc., and there is no self-blame.
  It is precisely because of the existence of these cases that neuroscientists have discovered and determined that the frontal lobe has an important function of “self-control”. If a person’s frontal lobe is damaged, then the person’s personality will change, and he cannot restrain his various bad behaviors, words, etc.
  So, can Geki regain self-control over bad behaviors, speech, etc.? Unfortunately, hope is slim. Because in subsequent research, neuroscientists discovered that the frontal lobe also has the function of “introspection”, that is, the function of self-reflection. The frontal lobe was injured, not only was unable to restrain his words and deeds, but also unable to reflect on himself. Some patients have milder frontal lobe injuries. Although they can distinguish the bad behaviors of others, they cannot see their own bad behaviors. In their eyes, their own bad behaviors are “good”. To put it simply, it is difficult for them to detect and correct their bad behavior, let alone Geki and the others who are more seriously injured.
  Although the human brain has always been with humans, and humans have carried out formal scientific research on it for more than 100 years, it is still full of various mysteries. If we want to thoroughly understand this old man, we may have to wait a while. time.