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generated solely by electro-chemical processes in the brain, a fortunate byproduct of billions of neurons recording and processing sensory information as it comes in.
In 2007, a 44-year-old civil servant in France was admitted to a medical clinic due to weakness that he was experiencing in his left leg. The doctors performed a CT scan of his brain, suspecting a neurological cause, especially considering that the patient had a similar problem with his leg when he was fourteen, due to the need for the adjustment of a ventriculoatrial shunt that had been installed in his cranium when he was six months old.
The results of the CT scan shocked the doctors: this man's cranium was almost an entirely hollow cavity. What was there was a very thin cortical mantle, basically what was left of the brain itself, lining the interior of his skull. This was due to a massive enlargement of the ventricular system, a cluster of four cavities in the center of the brain that produce the cerebrospinal fluid that cushions our brain and spinal cord.
When a 44-year-old man from France started experiencing weakness in his leg, he went to the hospital. That's when doctors told him he was missing most of his brain. The man's skull was full of liquid, with just a thin layer of brain tissue left. The condition is known as hydrocephalus. "It is so stunning a case of the brain's ability to adapt." - Cognitive psychologist Axel Cleeremans "He was living a normal life. He has a family. He works. His IQ was tested at the time of his complaint. This came out to be 84, which is slightly below the normal range … So, this person is not bright — but perfectly, socially apt," explains Axel Cleeremans. Cleeremans is a cognitive psychologist at the Université Libre in Brussels. When he learned about the case, which was first described in The Lancet in 2007, he saw a medical miracle — but also a major challenge to theories about consciousness.