Boy with severe brain damage shows unprecedented growth

When expectant parents get bad news about the baby in the womb, it's nothing if not frightening and stressful. Life can go from hopeful and happy to scared and anxious in the course of one ultrasound.  

Just such a moment arrived for Shelly Wall and her husband Rob, when their doctor gave them some terrible news about the baby she was carrying — the boy whom they'd already named Noah. 

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An ultrasound had revealed that Noah had spina bifida and congenital hydrocephalus. It's a condition where excess fluid accumulates in the brain and swells the size of the skull. In this case their doctor wanted to prepare them for the worst: it wasn't clear if Noah would even survive until birth, and in any case, he might be born without a brain.

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Rob and Shelly were unsurprisingly devastated. They wanted this baby so badly. But now they prepared themselves for the coming loss, even buying a little coffin. They waited and wondered how long they would have with their baby, if any time at all. 

And then Noah arrived — with only 2% of a brain. And yet, there he was. 

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After a tense period in intensive care, they took him home, more committed than ever to enjoying their time as parents. 

Noah grew and developed — a little bit slower than average, but then when other babies his age started crawling, he started crawling too. When other toddlers started speaking, he did too.

He was learning all the same skills as other toddlers, but with only a fraction of the brain. How was this possible? The doctors following his case were baffled — and overjoyed. Even they didn't understand what was happening.

In certain areas he needed extra attention and care, but he grew into a lively, happy child. 

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But it wasn't just his extraordinary development that stood out, it was also his charming sweetness and permanent good mood! Despite his endless check-ups at the hospital, Noah was always a ray of sunshine. 

Then Noah shocked the doctors even further: they did new brain scans and discovered that his brain has grown. And not just a little bit, it's developed enormously. Considering Noah's condition, the medical team is still utterly stumped as to how so much of his brain could evolve after birth. He seems like a medical miracle. 


In the meantime, a documentary about Noah and his parents has appeared and everyone involved remains eager to learn from Noah's unexpected life. You can watch a really touching report about him here...

Stay tuned. In a time when we're constantly learning about the brain's plasticity, it will undoubtedly be fascinating to see what Noah does next and what doctors discover about the human brain from his and his family's experience! 


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