As crazy as it sounds, this little boy was born with almost no brain – and the four year old is happy and relatively healthy.
It’s quite the miracle.
Noah Wall was born with a condition that had stunted his brain growth – his brain was only two percent as big as it should have been. His doctor told his parents Shelley and Robb that he might be severely disabled, physically and mentally, but even after suggesting terminating the pregnancy five times, they still wanted to go through with it.
When he was in the womb he developed an acute case of spina bifida, and severe hydrocephalus. His head was filled with fluid, which meant his brain had no space to grow.
It was a difficult birth for Shelley and Noah, and he was rushed to surgery immediately after being born. As he had spina bifida, he had an open wound on his back. Spina bifida is basically when the spine doesn’t grow properly – so the wound had to be sewn up. And he also had to have all the fluid that had gathered in his head drained with a shunt.
That sounds horrific for a newborn, and terrible to watch for his parents. Luckily, he’s made amazing leaps and bounds since then.
He’s paralysed from the neck down due to the spina bifida, but his brain has started to grow into the space in his head now. He can count up to ten and is learning to read and write – just like every other kid at the primary school he attends.
Amazingly, his brain has expanded and is 80 percent the size of a normal kid his age.
The next thing on his list of impossible things to do is to learn to walk. Both his parents are adamant that Noah will walk, with mechanical aids or by himself.
We believe in this kid – go on, son!
The Brain is A Mystery
But there is so much we still don’t know about the brain.
For example, we don’t know why or how we have consciousness – only that we do. Despite neuroscientists from all over the world studying it, we still don’t have an answer to that question.
We also don’t know how much of our personality comes from our brain – it’s the old nurture vs nature question. The brain is a sponge that feeds off its environment.
And we don’t know why we dream. We spend about a third of our lives asleep (or more if you’re like me) but no one really knows why. Obviously our bodies are tired, but what does dreaming enable or help?