Fact or Fiction?; March 2008; Scientific American Magazine; by Charles Q. Choi; 1 Page(s)
The operation known as a hemispherectomy--the removal of half the brain--sounds too radical to ever consider, much less perform. In the past century, however, surgeons have done it hundreds of times for disorders that cannot be controlled any other way. Perhaps surprisingly, the surgery has no apparent effect on personality or memory. Does that mean a person needs only half a brain? Yes and no. People can survive and function pretty well after the procedure, but they will have some physical disabilities.
The first known hemispherectomy was performed on a dog in 1888 by German physiologist Friedrich Goltz. Neuro_surgeon Walter Dandy pioneered the use of the procedure on humans at Johns Hopkins University in 1923, operating on a patient who had a brain tumor. (That man lived for more than three years before ultimately succumbing to cancer.)