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View Full Version : Einstein´s brain was indeed extraordinary



RMorgan
19th November 2012, 17:15
Hey folks,

Check this new extensive study about Einstein´s brain:

PDF : http://www.oxfordjournals.org/our_journals/brainj/press_releases/prpaper.pdf

I´ll copy part of the conclusion, but read the entire document if you´re interested.


Einstein’s brain is of unexceptional size and its combination of a relatively wide and forward-projecting right frontal lobe with a relatively wide and posteriorly protruding left occipital lobe is the most prevalent pattern seen in right-handed adult males.

We have identified the sulci that delimit expansions of cortex (gyri or convolutions) on the external surfaces of all of the lobes of the brain and on the medial surfaces of both hemispheres. The morphology in some parts of Einstein’s cerebral cortex is highly unusual compared with 25 (Ono et al., 1990) and 60 (Connolly, 1950) human brains for which sulcal patterns have been thoroughly described.

To the extent possible, the blocks of brain from particularly interesting areas are identified on the ‘roadmap’ that was prepared when Einstein’s brain was sectioned, as a guide for researchers who may wish to explore the histological correlates of Einstein’s gross cortical morphology.

Contrary to earlier reports, newly available photographs reveal that Einstein’s brain is not spherical in shape. The surface area of Einstein’s inferior parietal lobule is larger on the left than the right side, whereas that of his superior parietal lobule appears markedly larger in the right hemisphere.

The photographs also suggest that the primary somatosensory and motor cortices representing the face and tongue are differentially expanded in the left hemisphere, that the posterior ascending limb of the Sylvian fissure is separate 40 from (rather than confluent with) the postcentral inferior sulcus, and that parietal opercula are present.

Nevertheless, our findings are concordant with the earlier suggestion that unusual morphology in Einstein’s parietal lobes may have provided neurological substrates for his visuospatial and mathematical abilities (Witelson 45et al., 1999a, b).

Our results also suggest that Einstein had relatively expanded prefrontal cortices, which may have provided underpinnings for some of his extraordinary cognitive abilities, including his productive use of thought experiments.

From an evolutionary perspective, the specific parts of Einstein’s prefrontal cortex that appear to be differentially expanded are of interest because recent findings indicate that these same areas increased differentially in size and became neurologically reorganized at microanatomical levels during hominin evolution in association with the emergence of higher cognitive abilities (Semendeferi et al., 2011).

It would be interesting therefore to investigate the histological correlates of these (as well as parietal) regions of Einstein’s brain from the newly available slides.

We hope that future research on comparative primate neuroanatomy, paleoneurology and functional neuroanatomy will provide insight about some of the unusually convoluted parts of Einstein’s brain that we have described with little, if any, interpretation (e.g. the external neuroanatomy of the occipital lobes, posterolateral temporal cortex, and inferior temporal gyri).

Cheers,

Raf.

Flash
19th November 2012, 17:30
His two sons were nevertheless schizophrenics, were raised uniquely by their mother who also was a mathematician who was instrumental to Einstein first discoveries and who had to give up her career to raised two profoundly disabled children.

Einstein mirror neurons (instrumental in empathy) may have been lacking somewhere, not to help his ex wife and his two sons.

Ok, I am in a bad mood today and I see the dark aspect of things....

mojo
19th November 2012, 17:46
That brain was Abbey Normal in a good way...;)

Shade
19th November 2012, 18:24
He was also dyslexic. (His sons were schizophrenic) mental illness comes with the territory of having strong mental abilities a lot of the time. The greater the complexity of a structure the harder it is to maintain it by both the body and the greater whole.. a sensitive instrument in an insensitive world.

delfine
19th November 2012, 19:27
Einsteins brain was also smaller than the average woman´s...:heh:

Snoweagle
19th November 2012, 20:07
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2012/11/15/albert-einstein-brain-photographs/1707425/
[start quote]
. . . After Einstein died in 1955, his brain was removed and photographed from several angles. Unfortunately, many of the photos of the brain were considered lost for more than 55 years.

However, 14 photographs of Einstein's brain were recently uncovered by the National Museum of Health and Medicine
in Silver Spring, Md., as part of a donation from the estate of Thomas Harvey, the pathologist who took the photos.

After the photos were taken, the brain itself was cut into 240 separate blocks for analysis, most of which remain at the University Medical Center in Princeton, N.J., where Einstein's brain was taken after he died.

The locations of some of Einstein's brain chunks are unknown, unfortunately.

So the photos of the full, pre-dissected brain are a real find: "Although it is beyond the scope of this article, we also hope that our identifications will be useful for workers interested in comparing Einstein's brain with preserved brains from other gifted individuals."
[end quote]

Whilst I haven't yet read the complete journal article yet, as this particularly article interests me; not because it was Einsteins brain but because the analysis was done predominantly from photographs recently found.

Doesn't it sound remarkable how much science can be gleened from some old photographs of ANY brain in a study requiring some of the best talent in the medical world conducting virtual visual archeology from a photograph?

If it really is so remarkable how come they lost all the chopped up brain chunks?

Why isn't that an issue?

Ilie Pandia
19th November 2012, 22:10
The conclusions may be backwards: his brain was so unusual because Einstein entertained unusual thoughts, and not necessarily the other way around.

You don't first have muscles that allow you to sprint... you first start sprinting and then the muscles develop to support your activity :)

Just food for thought, I don't feel strongly about either hypothesis being true.

Flash
19th November 2012, 22:21
Brains of people with some impediments (heavy dysphasia, aphasia, etc) end up developing other parts of their brain to compensate, which at the same time gives them different abilities than what is the norm.

Shade
20th November 2012, 04:14
Brains of people with some impediments (heavy dysphasia, aphasia, etc) end up developing other parts of their brain to compensate, which at the same time gives them different abilities than what is the norm.

Yeah like brain damage.. if you acquire an injury from something the brain will just take another area and try to use it for the purpose of what was lost or damaged and in the process it can come to understand things that were just out of its reach before due to novelty and the inventiveness in construction and rebuilding required. I'm not sure if my brain was damaged by pre existing chemistry via genetics or if it came from a dose of LSD I had one day. Either way I have seen first hand how the brain can repair itself but it can take many years.

deridan
20th November 2012, 07:31
shade, quite interesting what you have said,
in some personality typifications, not that i can see the difference anymore, but some are referred to as being either intuitive or sensitive, thinkers or feelers,
so-that if both parents are of one type (say two sensitives), then the children may be imbalanced,

LSD, they say they don't know what it does to the brain,
but lets imagine your soul self temporarily dissociates from the physical apparatus of mind,
by the time in the trip when your soul re-enters its envelope, it can discard some assumptions which you have made in normal conscious living which u feel is no longer relevant,
...i remember a mescaline trip in a park, it was like i discovered the most primal human emotion,...territoriality, ..it was almost asif i was falling off a cliff, but my acknowledgement of this instinct to have a piece of territory made me feel better.

Indeed, i agree with Ilie Pandia above, its the type of exercise one exerts themselves towards which define the muscle groupings, in this case the brains 'big areas',
Einstein is much like an ancient hebrew philosopher, at that time, expanding into the age of science

kemo
20th November 2012, 13:43
Personally I find it rather distasteful and undignified for anyone's mortal remains should be studied in this way unless that person had given express permission - obviously beforehand.

panopticon
26th November 2012, 00:55
The conclusions may be backwards: his brain was so unusual because Einstein entertained unusual thoughts, and not necessarily the other way around.

You don't first have muscles that allow you to sprint... you first start sprinting and then the muscles develop to support your activity :)

Just food for thought, I don't feel strongly about either hypothesis being true.

Seems you aren't alone on that nature/nurture or combination thereof question Ilie:


... whether Einstein started off with a special brain that predisposed him to be a great physicist, or whether doing great physics caused certain parts of his brain to expand... probably due to "some combination of a special brain and the environment he lived in."
Source (http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2012/11/why-einstein-was-a-genius.html)
Kind Regards, :yo:
Panopticon