Brain Plasticity: Meet the Teen Whose Brain Rewired After Losing a Hemisphere


(OPB) – In most people, speech and language live in the brain’s left hemisphere. Mora Leeb is not most people.

When she was 9 months old, surgeons removed the left side of her brain. Yet at 15, Mora plays soccer, tells jokes, gets her nails done, and, in many ways, lives the life of a typical teenager.

“I can be described as a glass-half-full girl,” she says, pronouncing each word carefully and without inflection. Her slow, cadence-free speech is one sign of a brain that has had to reorganize its language circuits.

Yet to a remarkable degree, Mora’s right hemisphere has taken on jobs usually done on the left side. It’s an extreme version of brain plasticity, the process that allows a brain to modify its connections to adapt to new circumstances. CONTINUE