A 24-year-old Chinese woman, who had been suffering from dizziness and having a hard time with walking stably for more than 20 years, went to the emergency room complaining of unexplained vomiting and nausea. What doctors found was simply shocking.
Doctors discovered that she is missing a giant chunk of brain: the cerebellum. The cerebellum is a part of the brain involved with coordinating smooth body movements.
According to New Scientist, one of the reasons this woman’s case is so special is that most people missing their cerebellum die young and the missing brain structure is only found in an autopsy.
Doctors were amazed to learn that she is married and had a successful pregnancy of her own.
Though she stood and walked by herself at later ages than most children and had unintelligible speech until she was 6 years old, she was considered to have “mild mental impairment and medium motor deficits,” the case study about the woman published in the journal Brain said.
According to the National Institutes of Health, people who have strokes affecting their cerebellum experience dizziness, nausea and other problems. New Scientist reported that the cerebellum accounts for just 10 percent of the brain’s volume but holds 50 percent of its neurons.
“These rare cases are interesting to understand how the brain circuitry works and compensates for missing parts,” Mario Manto, a scientist at Free University of Brussels, told New Scientist.