The wonderful workings of the mind

Our day in Palm Springs started with the quiet brilliance of Oliver Sacks. This wonderful, kind, insightful man has caused us to think differently about people whose brains work differently from the average – from what we tend to call normality. Today he told us the story of an old lady with hallucinations caused by Charles Bonnet Syndrome. The hallucinations are the result of hyperactivity in parts of the brain left inactive by failing sight or hearing, a natural extension of brain function being left with not enough to do.

This condition affects about 10% of people with visual or hearing loss. Shockingly, less than 1% acknowledge it – concerned, as this old lady was, not to be labelled as insane, or to find out that some other degenerative condition is bearing down on them.

Oliver Sacks’ work and his writings communicate the fascinating normality of the many different ways our brains work, and the impact they have on us. These are ideas that need to be spread.

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