john lorber

Dr. John Lorber

238 hydrocephalus

X-ray of a Hydrocephalic Patient
Showing Little Brain Material

Description of Roger with severe hydrocephalus by Dr. John Lorber

Dr. John Lorber, professor of pediatrics at the University of Sheffield, examined the cases of a large number of people with hydrocephalus, in which the cranial cavity is filled with cerebrospinal fluid so only a thin layer of brain tissue exists. Among the patients having the most severe form of hydrocephalus, with most of their cranium filled with cerebrospinal fluid, many function perfectly normally despite the missing brain.

One student at the University of Sheffield had an IQ of 126, gained a first-class honors degree in mathematics, and was socially completely normal. “And yet the boy has virtually no brain,” Dr. Lorber said.

When we did a brain scan on him, . . . we saw that instead of the normal 4.5-centimeter thickness of brain tissue between the ventricles and the cortical surface, there was just a thin layer of mantle measuring a millimeter or so. His cranium is filled mainly with cerebrospinal fluid.*

A video describing the student’s brain scans follows.

*Source: John Lorber, “Is your brain really necessary?” in Hydrocephalus im frühen kindesalter: Fortschritte der grundlagenforschung, diagnostik und therapie, D. Voth, ed. (Stuttgart: Enke, 1983), 2–14.

Dr. John Lorber, University of Sheffield
Description of Roger with severe hydrocephalus