(Photo from National Geographic)

A young victim of Kenya’s post-election violence waits at a hospital in Nakuru to have an arrow removed from the back of his skull. The ethnic conflicts have claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people, and the country now faces a humanitarian crisis, with about 310,000 people from the eastern and central provinces fleeing their homes.


5 thoughts on “Ouch!

  1. Likely the arrow is nowhere close to the actual brain. Brains are smaller than you would think given size of heads – thick tissue and bone exists between environment and brain. Fortunately.

  2. why or how humans can still function after having a nail stuck through their brain?
    An answer from the gallery:
    In fact, we don’t always do all
    that well, but in general, the brain is impressively good at coping with damage, especially when limited to a small area. It helps (for this purpose) that there are no pain sensors inside the brain. (Talk about your recursion problems!)
    More to the point, in a brain, unlike a CPU, everything happens in parallel. A damaged CPU is likely to fail outright, because it’s not just a given circuit that gets damaged, it’s every process or function that uses that circuit, or depends on it. In the brain, damage to a given chunk does interrupt information flow, but only through the damaged areas, while business continues as usual everywhere else.
    It’s not clear just how far the arrow penetrated, it may well be mostly jammed in her skull, but if there’s say, a couple of centimeters of cerebrum damaged, that might represent anything from the vision from a spot in her right field of view, to the kinesthetic sense from her right leg, a bunch of adverbs, or even part of her judgement of heights. Assuming she can avoid infection or other aftereffects (and she is waiting for treatment), she’d probably end up with suche fairly minor problems, which may even repair themselves as she finished growing up. (A real neurologist might be able to look at that picture and guess at what functions actually would get damaged.)

  3. Yes it happens, during my Surgery class in the Medical School we had a patient with a bullet in his brain located between the Frontal lobes in the longitudinal cerebral fissure. We could not believe it, until we saw the CT (Computer Tomography) of the patient.
    It is very important to know did that arrow caused a big hemorrhage, and which Brodmann’s fields were damaged?
    It is first priority to stop the intracranial bleeding and preventing infections, and then to search for the neurologic deficits of the brain. If we see the picture we can predict that the the patient could have sensory aphasia (Brodman area 22-Wernicke area) or semantic aphasia (area 39), problems with vision(Area 19) and maybe somatosensory deficits(Area 40). But we have to make a neurological examination, an CT and a MRI to determinate the right location of the brain damage.

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