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Einstein's brain average sized but 'complicated'

Updated: November 28, 2012, 1:27 PM IST
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Einstein's brain average sized but 'complicated'
The pictures of Einstein's brain, taken by pathologist Thomas Harvey, show a number of peculiarities.

London: Physicist Albert Einstein's brain, though of average size, contained an unusually high number of folds which may have provided the genius with the ability to think in "extraordinary ways", scientists claim. The Nobel Prize-winning scientist's brain was divided into 240 blocks and distributed to researchers after his death in 1955. Most of the specimens were lost and little was written about its anatomy.

Scientists now have used photographs of the brain before it was segmented to produce a "road map" connecting the 240 sections and the 2,000 thin slivers into which they were later split, 'The Telegraph' reported. The pictures, taken from the private collection of pathologist Thomas Harvey, who divided the brain up, show a number of peculiarities about Einstein's brain.

Although Einstein's brain was only of average size, weighing 1,230 grams, certain areas contain an unusually high number of folds and grooves, a comparison with 85 other brains showed. Anthropologist Dean Falk of Florida State University found "regions that are exceptionally complicated in their convolutions" in each of Einstein's brain lobes.

The finding confirmed reports in two previous studies, which suggested that an unusual pattern of ridges in the brain could have been linked to Einstein's remarkable ability to solve problems in physics, the report said. Falk and colleagues, writing in the journal 'Brain', also observed that Einstein's brain was enlarged in regions which transmit nerve impulses to the face and tongue, and in the prefrontal cortex, which is linked to concentration and forward planning.

The extra matter in areas linked to the face and tongue could explain a comment by the scientist that his thinking was "muscular" rather than taking the form of words, researchers said, adding "it may be that he used his motor cortex in extraordinary ways".

Researchers were also able to map out the 240 brain sections in the hope that other scientists could use them for future projects. Einstein died on April 18, 1955 aged 76 in New Jersey, United States.

First Published: November 28, 2012, 1:27 PM IST
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