You Really Can Live With Half of Your Brain

The brain is the body’s most complex and incredible organ. As we all learned in school, the brain is responsible for us being able to talk, see, breathe, think, and do just about everything. What happens if our brain malfunctions or we get injured? How much of our brain is really necessary? A 3-year-old girl named Jodie Miller found out just how adaptable the brain is firsthand. As a child, Miller suffered from a rare disease called Rasmussen’s encephalitis, resulting in brain swelling, motor skill impairment, speech problems and seizures. Doctors recommended a drastic procedure: a hemispherectomy. In simpler terms, they decided to remove half of her brain to improve her symptoms. To their surprise, the surgery was successful. Jody's seizures ceased and she recovered from the surgery incredibly well. Immediately following the surgery, she had slight paralysis on the left side of her body, which was later treated with physiotherapy. Her left hemisphere was able to take over the role of the missing right hemisphere, and today Jody has graduated from college, won multiple scholarships and awards, and is living a normal healthy life — all with only half a brain.