and her mother (left) meet Alan
wisdom holds that we use only ten percent of our brains, but
a remarkable young woman named Michelle Mack proves otherwise.
was born with half a brain. Her left hemisphere was almost
completely destroyed by a stroke she suffered in her mother's
womb. But Michelle's verbal and object-recognition capabilities,
normally seated in the missing left brain, are hardly compromised.
MRI scan reveals the missing left half of
"The Power of Half," meet Michelle and Dr.
Jordan Grafman, of the National Institutes of Health outside
of Washington D.C. Although their work together has just begun,
it's already clear that Michelle's right hemisphere controls
tasks handled by the left brain in other people. But this
compensation comes with a price; Michelle struggles with visual-spatial
tasks, which are normally processed in the right brain. It's
as if the two abilities, linguistic and visual-spatial, had
to duke it out for space in Michelle's brain- and language
extraordinary case is yet more evidence that the brain is
a flexibleand competitiveorgan, always prioritizing and
re-organizing. Stay tunedDr. Grafman's work with Michelle
will be updated in a future episode of Frontiers.