The rat with no brain living a normal life exhibits neuroplasticity

An old rat with no brain was discovered by a psychologist professor, Craig Ferris. The rat’s brain was infected with hydrocephalus which caused it to shrink and collapse. The rat, however, was able to function normally without any need for assistance.

Craig Ferris, a scientist were carrying out brain rat brain scans when he stumbled upon an interesting case. An old rat, which could function normally with the ability to hear, smell and feel just like others, but had no brain. Craig also observed that the old rat might have survived its entire life without the brain and without noticing it was missing something.

Discovery of the rat with no brain

The rat, which was named R222, technically did have a brain that was affected by a condition called hydrocephalus. This condition is able to compress and collapse the brain, filling it with fluid.

Normally, hydrocephalus is able to totally collapse the brain system, leading to it not functioning properly. However, for this rat, it continued functioning properly and Craig said that some functions of the brain were able to be localized in other parts of the brain. This allowed the rat to function normally as if it had no illness affecting its brain.

Craig said the R22 case is a clear indication that brain functions are able to be distributed to other parts of the brain in the case of some parts fail. This phenomenon, known as neuroplasticity, plays a huge role in the way the brain adapts and learns new information and skills.

The brain adapts to changes

Craig described these findings by saying,

we had this unique opportunity to try to understand how this animal survived…The lower part of the brain stem had everything collapsed in it,This animal just defaulted to what evolution gave it in the beginning, along with all the other animals, to help it survive.

He continued by saying he was surprised by the successful adaptation to its extreme abnormality which the rat with no brain might have carried since birth. This also confirms that the brain is able to adapt to changes and function in part as if it were whole.

 

Featured image by Pixabay