Wednesday, September 18, 2013


The blobfish has gotten a lot of press since winning the vote as the ugliest endangered animal to become the official mascot of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society. But this is a blob of an entirely different sort. It is a human brain without any of the characteristic convolutions! People with this rare condition – known as agyria or lissencephaly – rarely survive childhood and are known to have muscle spasms, seizures, and a range of learning difficulties. This is the most profound example that neurologists have seen and would have remained unseen if not for Austin-based photographer Adam Voorhes:
"I walked into a storage closet filled with approximately one hundred human brains, none of them normal, taken from patients at the Texas State Mental Hospital. The brains sat in large jars of fluid, each labeled with a date of death or autopsy, a brief description in Latin, and a case number. These case numbers corresponded to micro film held by the State Hospital detailing medical histories. But somehow, regardless of how amazing and fascinating this collection was, it had been largely untouched, and unstudied for nearly three decades."
The symptoms of this particular patient, however, are a mystery. The label on the jar states that he or she died in 1970, notes the anomaly, but includes a reference number corresponding to a microfilm which no longer exists…


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