- NEW YORK (Reuters
Health) - The brain of Albert Einstein has clear differences from an average
person's gray matter, according to a California researcher. But any possible
link between these differences and his great intelligence is still unknown,
- To investigate whether the brain of a genius might show
special features, Dr. Dahlia W. Zaidel of the University of California,
Los Angeles, examined two slides made from the physicist's brain shortly
after his death in 1955 at age 76. The slides contained samples of Einstein's
hippocampus, a part of the brain responsible for memory and word associations.
- Zaidel compared Einstein's brain with tissue from 10
individuals of ordinary intelligence who ranged in age from 22 to 84 at
the time of death.
- The neurons on the left side of the Nobel Prize winner's
hippocampus were consistently larger than those on the right. Zaidel said
these findings were ``markedly different'' from those seen in the brains
of individuals with normal intelligence.
- She presented her findings Monday at the Society for
Neuroscience's annual meeting in San Diego, California.
- While the neurons on the left side were smaller than
those on the right in four of five regions of Einstein's hippocampus, the
brains of ordinary people showed only minimal and inconsistent asymmetry,
- The larger neurons in the left hippocampus, she noted,
imply that Einstein's left brain may have had stronger nerve cell connections
between the hippocampus and another part of the brain called the neocortex
than his right. The neocortex is ''where detailed, logical, analytical
and innovative thinking takes place,'' Zaidel noted in a prepared statement.
- But the origins of this asymmetry, or whether it occurred
at birth, during development or as an abnormality, are unknown, she said.
- ``Also,'' Zaidel told Reuters Health, ``I don't yet know
how this asymmetry is related to his genius.''
- While normal brain tissue is available for study, Zaidel
said, ``there is no brain bank for geniuses.'' She said she hopes to obtain
brain tissue ``from very bright scientists and particularly physicists,''
which could make it possible to place Einstein's brain on a continuum of