Woman Missing Large Part of Brain Ranks 98th Percentile in Speech

Woman Missing Brain Normal Speech

A recent study sheds light on the remarkable case of a woman who grew up without a key part of her brain and was barely affected by it.

In the endless search to understand the workings of the human mind, scientists take special interest in cases of the most unique brains. The most recent and fascinating is that of a woman known as EG (to protect her privacy.)

Now in her fifties, EG first learned her brain was atypical in her twenties when she had it scanned for an unrelated reason. She was told then that she had been missing her left temporal lobe from infancy, which was most likely the result of an early stroke. This part of the brain is thought to be involved with language processing, which makes EG’s story so extraordinary.

Despite being repeatedly told by doctors that she should have major cognitive deficits and neurological issues, EG has a graduate degree, has enjoyed an impressive career, and speaks Russian as a second language.

Several years ago, EG met Dr. Evelina Fedorenko, a cognitive neuroscientist at M.I.T. who studies language. Fedorenko was immediately fascinated by EG’s case and conducted a number of studies, the first of which was recently published in the journal Psychologia.

As part of the study, EG took a vocabulary test and scored in the 98th percentile. Brain imaging revealed that, in the absence of EG’s left temporal lobe, the task of language processing seems to have shifted over to her right hemisphere.

Ella Striem-Amit, a cognitive neuroscientist at Georgetown University told WIRED, “The remarkable thing about this patient and other such patients who were missing large chunks of their language system at birth, is how well they compensate.”

For EG, the study has been a welcome validation, after decades of being made to feel defective.

As she wrote in the published paper: “Please do not call my brain abnormal, my brain is atypical.  If not for accidentally finding these differences, no one would pick me out of a crowd as likely to have these, or any other differences, that make me unique.”

Fedorenko’s team plans to conduct several more studies on EG and expects to come away with an even richer understanding of the brain’s seemingly limitless potential for flexibility and adaptation.

EG said she hopes, “it will also take some stigma away from atypical brains.”

Binaural Beats Heal, Induce Out-of-Body Experiences Research Shows

Binaural Beats Induce Out-of-body experience

New research suggests that using binaural beats to entrain your brain may not only heal but also induce out-of-body experiences.

Brainwave entrainment is a method of using pulsing sounds to stimulate the brain into entering a specific state. It has grown in popularity lately, evidenced by the increasing number of available brainwave entrainment recordings. Many such recordings are created using binaural beats; two tones with slightly different frequencies. Now, research is showing the healing benefits of listening to these binaural beats for both body and mind.

Karen Newell is an author and co-founder of Sacred Acoustics, a leading creator of brainwave entrainment audio recordings.

“Binaural beats are delivered by giving you one signal in one ear and a slightly different signal in the other ear, and the result is a wavering sound,” Newell said. 

“Binaural beats are effective in that they are affecting the brainwave state of the brain. So, our brains put out an electric signal (and) it’s measured with an EEG device with the names of Delta, Theta, Alpha — we’re used to hearing those words. Beta, that’s the state that we’re in when we’re walking and talking; that’s the state that really prevents us from getting into a quieter state of awareness. So, binaural beats are designed to bring us into those lower brainwave states, so help the brain get into a quieter state that’s associated with sleep, meditation, and focus.”

People experience a wide range of responses to binaural beats, from deep relaxation to enhanced intuition, lucid dreams, and even connection with the souls of departed loved ones.  Another fascinating effect increasingly reported to Newell and her team is the out-of-body experience.

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