The Boy Who Grew a New Brain: Understanding this Miracle from a Neuro-Quantum Perspective

NeuroQuantology | July 2018 | Volume 16 | Issue 7 | Page 39-48 | doi: 10.14704/nq.2018.16.7.1687 Pereira C., The Boy Who Grew a New Brain: Understanding this Miracle from a Neuro-Quantum Perspective
MRI scans of Noah’s brain at 3 months (First Scan) and 2 years (Second Scan) Photo Credit: Noah’s Father Rob Wall and Mother Michelle Wall

Exceptions are not always the proof of the old rule; they can also be the harbinger of a new one. (Ebner-Eschenbach, 1994). Excerpts for the case were taken from personal chats with Noah’s mother Michelle Wall and father Rob Wall.
Noah’s parents Rob and Michelle were told by their doctors during a routine scan that the chance of their boy surviving was impossible after he was diagnosed with spina bifida while still in the womb. At the same time, Noah was also diagnosed with hydrocephalus caused due to a porencephalic destructive cyst that left only 2% of his brain intact in his skull. As per the doctor’s procedures, they considered not to resuscitate him in case he did not breathe on his own at birth. Noah’s parents decided to give birth to him against the doctor’s suggestion to abort him. In fact, the doctors had informed them that Noah would be born with severe mental and physical disabilities in case he survives. At birth, Noah let out an affirming scream like a normal child and his regular breathing puzzled the doctors, as he was breathing in the absence of the part of the brain that controls breathing. Immediately after he was born, Noah had to go through a rigorous 5-hour operation to close his spina bifida, which was a success. The doctors fitted him with a shunt to reduce the pressure in his brain by draining off the excess fluid accumulated in his skull. In no time Noah’s fluid picked up an infection and the shunt had to be replaced, after which the doctors began to notice a significant change in his behavior which has been progressing as that of a normal child till date. As per Noah’s neurosurgeon, his brain at 3 months of age should have been completely formed as shown in Fig 1 and 2. But due to the hydrocephalus condition, the skull was filled with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pushing the remaining 2% of the brain to the inner side of the skull, as observed in Fig 1 and 2.
As discussed earlier, in neuroscience, the brain cortex is considered as the seat of consciousness. Accordingly, the emergence of free will and readiness potential are known to arise in the cerebral cortex (Panagiotaropoulos et al., 2012). But in the present case, the cerebral cortex was missing from Noah’s brain, as can be seen in Fig 3. However, the brain scans did show the presence of the midbrain and brain stem, but the cortex was completely absent. In the absence of a cerebral cortex, the neuroscientific view of consciousness, free will and choice are highly challenged. Neuroscientists claim that the cerebral cortex in newborns are non-functional, as they possess the embryonic system of ‘cerebral cortex,’ which is not yet functioning, because it is still immature. Babies are therefore considered ‘brainstem beings’ (Dubuc, 2009), which may have been the case with Noah. Which means that Noah’s brainstem triggered the growth of his brain, which began demonstrating several cognitive functions associated with his upper body, as compared to the severely impaired paralyzed lower body functions (due to the spina bifida). Even in considering the brain stem as the initiator, in this case, the question still remains unanswered as to what is it that triggered the brain stem to make a choice for the brain to re-grow?

Noah’s level of awareness was very high since his birth and till date is growing at a rate as that of a normal child. Noah’s Consultant Neurosurgeon says: ‘Noah teaches the medical profession that you can’t ever know, that it doesn’t matter how many statistics you throw at something, you can’t predict.’ Noah is a strongwilled child and so are his parents and the result is evident from the ability to re-grow his brain to full potential. It is true that at this age it is difficult for the parents to convince Noah, but they have been compassionate and loving to the child, and in this manner assured that the will to make a choice exhibited by Noah should not be broken. From an external source, Noah’s will must be encouraged and steered with love for him to progress further. Noah has discovered that self-control, carefulness, a sense of responsibility and strength of decision are virtues in themselves and can support him for the rest of his life. Noah’s case has astounded the whole of the neuroscience community with his ability to overcome all obstacles whether physically, psychologically or emotionally. His growing brain is a sign of neuroplasticity and the development of newer connections which are making his brain work wonders for him. A rigorous regime of input and stimulation by family members seems to be supporting the development of new pathways in Noah’s brain which can be observed in the cognitive build-up. Noah is now 6 years old and his development has been like that of a normal child with the brain continuously growing to its full capacity and establishing its new connections. The reason for his miraculous recovery is definitely because of his willpower that made a choice to survive and the external support and motivation (as a sensory stimulation provided by his family, doctors and caregivers). Surprisingly, infants with hydrocephalus are termed ‘decorticate’ or completely without a cortex, where it is considered fatal within the neuroscientific community (Brown et al., 1973). It is generally accepted that children in such a state are mentally retarded and would be considered being “vegetative” and not being consciously aware (MSTF, 1994, RCP, 2003). In the present case, the narrow-mindedness of the neuroscientific community does not take choice and will into existence, because for them consciousness is absent in this case. But Noah’s case disproves them as it is clearly evident that this boy’s willpower to survive is what brought about a significant 80% growth of his brain. Surprisingly, born with only 2% of his brain and paralyzed below his waist, Noah’s development over the years has been like that of a normal child. When his brain scans were performed at the age of 2, it was found that the 2% brain had now grown to an 80% and is still growing to a state of full recovery. Though he is paralyzed below the waist because of his spina bifida that impacted some of his cognitive abilities, his growing brain does not restrict him from doing any kind of activity. Besides his walking disability, he is cognitively very strong and uses his arms to his fullest which is clearly evident in the videos that have been posted by his parents. Noah’s case demonstrates his willpower that made a choice to survive, which resulted in the growth of his brain which situates an example of understanding free will and choice from a neuro-quantum mechanics interpretation. Where besides our internal state there is also an external state which contributes to its emergence. External choices are sensory stimulations associated with love, care, emotions, trust, empathy, etc. that can have a direct impact on the emergence of choice. But, how the external state and internal state are connected within the void is yet to be determined. Willpower, choice and consciousness are correlated but are definitely discrete fields and therefore should not be wholly directed to the brain and its functional systems. Quantum mechanics can provide us a better understanding of these concepts from a probabilistic approach rather than a deterministic one.


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