Can You Live Without a Brain?

Can we live without a brain?

The brain is the most complex and important organ in the human body. The brain is made of soft nervous tissues which control all body functions. It is the center of the nervous system in all invertebrates and vertebrates. It is located in the head and functions as the coordinating center of intellectual, sensation and the nervous system. So can we live without a brain? Well, let’s see if it’s possible or not.

The brain is divided into two parts: the cerebrum and the cerebellum. The cerebrum controls important functions like our learning ability, emotion, etc. while on the other hand, the cerebellum controls activities such as balance and our muscle movements, etc. But the brain also determines our personality. There are several cases that show that a brain trauma can change someone’s personality. But back to our main question which is “Can we live without a brain?”.

Can we live without a brain?

To understand this, let us look at a case. In 2014, a 24 years old Chinese woman complained in a hospital about her nausea and dizziness. After a CT scan, the doctors found that the woman was born without a cerebellum but yet lived her life normally without knowing anything about it.

This is because the brain’s functionality is not just localized to these parts, but rather spread across the brain. The interesting fact is that most of these brain parts have the power to adapt to the functionality of other parts. This phenomenon is popularly called as Neuroplasticity.

Another interesting case occurred in 2001 when Trevor Waltrip was born without a forebrain. This condition is called as Hydranencephaly where the usual cerebral hemispheres are missing and the cranial cavity is filled with just cerebrospinal fluid. But even without a brain, Trevor Waltrip lived for 12 years. Thus he set an example of the limits of human survival without a brain.

But how did Trevor Waltrip managed to live without a brain? Even though he did not have his cerebral hemispheres, he still had his brain stem intact. This allowed him to breathe, maintain his heartbeat and respond to some basic stimuli. So we can see that the brain stem is the most important part of the brain which is necessary for human survival.

Thus we saw that living with a half brain is possible because our brain has the ability to adapt to requirement during a period of time due to the phenomenon of Neuroplasticity. To learn more interesting facts about science and maths in a fun and easy way, stay tuned with BYJU’S.


Living with a part of the brain missing is weird but possible! There have been extreme cases where people are born without the forebrain and yet survived for 12 years. Read various such interesting cases and learn the science behind it with an interactive video at BYJU’S

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