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How a 6-year-old had half his brain removed and recovered in 3 months

David Eagleman’s book Livewired explores neuroplasticity, the brain’s superpower, which lets it reshape after extreme surgery and adapt to losing a sense

Health



23 September 2020

Our brains can remake themselves to adapt to changing circumstances

Andriy Onufriyenko/Getty Images

Book

Livewired: The inside story of the ever-changing brain

David Eagleman

Canongate Books

IMAGINE if your 6-year-old son needed surgery to remove a staggering half of his brain. That was what faced Matthew, a boy with a rare condition triggering many epileptic seizures a day and that could only be treated with this drastic surgery. When he woke up afterwards, he was incontinent and couldn’t walk or speak.

Yet with daily physical and language therapy, Matthew regained these abilities. In three months, he was almost back to …