Brain-Defying Tales

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The brain stem controls the basic functions that we need to survive.

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It keeps the heart going, controls breathing and keeps organs like the intestines working. It also controls basic things like swallowing. So this is how Aaron has managed to survive so far. As long as the brain stem is there performing these functions, then he is able to survive. There is no known explanation for it. And the body can surprise us and do remarkable things. Although he cannot stand or walk on his own, Aaron Murray has proven to be a modern medical miracle.

Another rather amazing case is that of Jaxon Buell, of Tavares, Florida, who was similarly born with no brain past the brain stem, in this case suffering from a defect called anencephaly , which is the absence of major portions of the brain and skull.

The condition was spotted early in the pregnancy, but the Buells decided to go through with it even though doctors were adamant that the baby would not come to full term. When Jaxon defiantly came into the world on Aug. Jaxon Buell with his mother, Brittany Buell. Although Jaxon has been occasionally plagued by some health problems, he has continued to defy the odds and provide inspiration and courage for thousands as he has thrived.

How is it that this boy born without a brain could last so long and adjust so well? It is an amazing tale indeed, and I wish the best to Jaxon and his family. Other equally incredible and baffling cases are out there as well, such as the case of Kaliysha Barrett, who was born with only a partially operational brain stem and no cerebral cortex, but has managed to live to be 6-years-old, as well as another girl named Alex Simpson, of Omaha, Nebraska, who has lived to over years old without a brain while showing remarkable awareness and recognition of her surroundings, as well as appropriate responses to various stimuli.

Joining these ranks is a boy named Trevor Judge Waltrip, of Shreveport, Louisiana, who was born in without a brain and managed to live to 12 years old before finally dying peacefully in his sleep. Although blind and unable to speak, Trevor allegedly was quite alert and showed emotional responses and bonding with family members, recognizing those he loved and interacting with them. The list goes on, with numerous other similarly miraculous stories. It is not even just babies and children who live with this affliction, and although it may seem like people without brains may be doomed to die at a very early age, there are surprisingly cases of those who have lived into adulthood without a fully developed brain.

One of the most widely known and remarkable of these cases first appeared in an article in a Lancet study, which described a year-old French civil servant who went to the hospital complaining of weakness in his leg and surprised everyone, including himself, when it was found that he had only a tiny amount of brain material in his skull, with the rest being filled with fluid. The man had nevertheless lived a normal life, had a regular job, a wife, and kids, and although he had the rather low IQ of 75 was not considered to be mentally handicapped.

The man had not been aware that there was anything wrong with him, even though it was surmised that with the amount of brain matter he was missing he should not have even been conscious, let alone a functioning member of society, and his case has gone on to astound and baffle the medical world. This would not be the only adult to go through life normally without realizing that they did not have a functioning brain.

In in China, one year-old woman checked into a hospital in Shandong Province after experiencing bouts of dizziness and nausea. Linda looks so fantastic that she could do the play now, so I assumed she was going to do her part. I had never really thought about playing Marjorie, because it's not like the female characters that I usually play. But for one night, I'm game to try it. What makes Marjorie such a hard role? Charles : You have to have enormous comic skills, but also be a grounded dramatic actress and have a sense of authenticity in that New York milieu.

One of the things that was so great about the original production was the authenticity. They were all New York actors. Linda : It's the physicality of her. She starts to break down in a violently emotional way. She's been so traumatized by her own feelings of not being enough and not having any life. One thing after another builds into her lack of self-esteem until she finally blows. And then there's the comedy and the anger that comes out of the fear that she's losing her mind.

It's as if Lady Macbeth were a comic character. It takes a lot out of you to create it, and then to play it eight times a week. These two roles — Marjorie and Freida — are so associated with their original portrayers, Linda and the late Shirl Bernheim.

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How do you both feel about taking them on now? Charles : Linda's performance is so indelibly etched in my brain, and she said everything exactly like I dreamed. From the very beginning, she gave the play such a gravitas and emotional truth. We have evidence of it everywhere in nature. But put them under a microscope and they seize up like a dog who refuses to do the trick you taught him when the neighbor's watching. Except radioactive isotopes aren't supposed to be able to notice stuff like the giant eyeball staring at them behind that plate glass window. So in case you ever feel like we've got the universe figured out, keep in mind that in certain conditions, the universe appears to be actively keeping secrets from us.

Stefan-Xp Nobody move. They're watching. If the universe had speed limit signs, they would all read ,, meters per second. That's the speed of light, and according to Albert Einstein's special theory of relativity, this is the maximum speed that energy and matter can travel. For those of us raised on warp speed and hyperdrives, it's easy to miss just how important and concrete this law is. It's the central assumption of Einstein's theory, and pretty much everything that's been written about science for the past half-dozen decades rests on Einstein's theory being true.

Back in the s, the scientific community decided to take him at his word because he was on the cutting edge of modern hairstyles and usually knew what he was talking about when it came to science, and they never really looked back. Of course he's an expert.


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The problem was that they showed up 60 nanoseconds early , which doesn't sound like a big margin until you understand that in order for this to happen they would have to have traveled faster than the speed of light. Getty Those particles were in an awful hurry to get to a pretty boring mountain. Come on, Italy!

An illustrated ode to the brilliant flops that pave the way for brilliant breakthroughs.

Didn't we just go over this -- remember Einstein? We're pretty sure Moses even included something about this in the 10 Commandments. So obviously the entire world was a little skeptical of the discovery and wanted the tests redone. So they did, and scientists worldwide shit their collective pants with each retesting of the findings: Every single rerun produced the same results.

This recent flipping of the modern physics model on its head means that faster-than-light travel is now possible. Not for you yet , but certain particles can now travel distances that should take thousands of years to cross in seconds. The corners of the farthest galaxies are now fair game, but the most important implication of all is that because the neutrinos travel faster than light, they aren't affected by time the way everything in the visible universe is affected by time.

Mark Gungor Tale of Two Brains Full

This recent discovery has scientists at CERN toying with the notion of sending neutrino messages to their past selves. Though it's likely a long way off in the future, you did hear that correctly; time travel is now a very real and attainable possibility.

Brain-Defying Tales (Paperback)

Pictured: The wild-haired man who advanced our understanding of the time space continuum, and some guy with a mustache. Joseph Lahucik is a fan of this here , and this there -- also get all up in this here. And don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get sexy, sexy jokes sent straight to your news feed.


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