Einstein brain was better-connected than most, according to new study

Several scientific studies of Einstein brain structure have been done, noting some differences from brains of ‘normal’ human beings.

Why was Einstein such a brilliant scientist? This question has fascinated the world ever since he published four scientific papers in one ‘miracle year’ – 1905 – and forever changed the way humans looked at space, time, energy and mass.

EinsteinAlbert Einstein’s high-level analytical prowess has so intrigued fellow scientists down through the decades that several groups of them have studied the physiological structures of his brain postmortem for explanations as to why he might have been so smart. And each study has found one or more ways in which his brain physically differed from that of average adults.

Albert Einstein, the name itself signifies an extraordinary genius who had abilities which was much beyond his time.  Albert Einstein died on 18th April 1955 of a condition known as aortic aneurysm. He refused surgery and died of Hemorrhage. During the autopsy the pathologist of Princeton Hospital, where the great genius died, Thomas Stoltz Harvey, removed Einstein’s brain for preservation without the consent of his family, in the expectation that the neuroscience of the future would be able to find out what made Einstein so intelligent. It is now that the picture is becoming clear.

The two cerebral hemispheres of the human brain are connected by corpus callosum, and it is an integral part of the inter-hemispheric communication. Recent studies have indicated that Albert Einstein’s corpus callosum was extraordinarily well-connected and suggests that Einstein’s high level of cranial connectivity may have led to his brilliance.

In a new study published this week in the scientific journal Brain, a group of scientists from East China Normal University, Shanghai, analysed Einstein’s brain images which were provided by their colleagues from US. And, they found a significant difference, never noticed before.

The left and right hemispheres of Albert Einstein brain were unusually well connected to each other and may have contributed to his brilliance, according to the new study. Lead author Weiwei Men of East China Normal University’s Department of Physics developed a new technique to conduct the study, which is the first to detail Einstein’s corpus callosum, the brain’s largest bundle of fibers that connects the two cerebral hemispheres and facilitates interhemispheric communication.

“This study, more than any other to date, really gets at the ‘inside’ of Einstein brain,” said Dean Falk, evolutionary anthropologist at Florida State University and a co-author. “It provides new information that helps make sense of what is known about the surface of Einstein’s brain.”

“This technique should be of interest to other researchers who study the brain’s all-important internal connectivity,” he added.

Weiwei Men, East China Normal physicist and the study’s lead researcher, zeroed in on a central juncture, the corpus callosum, which fuses the brain’s two halves together. In any human brain, Einstein’s included, there is a right hemisphere and a left one, each responsible for a different array of functions—the left discerns order and structure and directs grammar, vocabulary, word comprehension, and mathematical computation, while the right oversees processing of form, structure, language intonation, general quantities, and emotion responses. The two hemispheres communicate and coordinate with each other via the corpus callosum

Men zeroed in on Einstein’s corpus callosum in the images and used a graphic visualization technique to measure the thickness of the juncture’s various subdivisions. Thickness indicates the number of intersecting nerves at the spot, which in turn indicates the degree of connectivity—more intersecting nerves means better-connected brain tissue.

Then Men and his cohorts compared the measurements with those of the brains of 67 other deceased adults who had been born the same year as Einstein. The conclusion: Einstein’s brain surpassed all of the others in the connectivity between his brain’s hemispheres and their various regions.

Other idiosyncrasies within Einstein brain have emerged in earlier studies. One found more folds across his cerebral cortex, for instance, while another found that his brain had a higher-than-average a higher ratio of glial cells—glial form myelin, participate in signal transmission, and nourish and support the overall brain—to neurons. Men et al’s study is the first to look at Einstein’s corpus callosum in depth, however.

By Cabal Martin | Staff Writer

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