ONCE you know what it is, this apparently innocuous picture of a blob assumes a terrible gravity. It is an adult human brain that is entirely smooth – free of the ridges and folds so characteristic of our species’ most complex organ.
We can only imagine what life was like for this person. He or she was a resident of what is now North Texas State Hospital, a mental health facility, and died there in 1970, but that’s all we know. While the jar containing the brain is labelled with a reference number, the microfilm containing the patient’s medical records has been lost.
Wow. The label on the jar is all that remains for clues to the person who was born with this brain. The patient had agyria – absence of the ridges and folds in a normally wrinkled cerebral cortex. The condition is also known as lissencephaly and is typically fatal before the age of 10 because the vastly reduced surface area of the brain does not function properly. These are wrinkles you want and NEED.
Go to the photographer’s page to see this brain and more.