Chinese teenager has brain cut in half to cure epilepsy

This 17-year-old looks no different from his peers except for a bandage on his head.

But just two weeks ago, he was suffering from epilepsy which affects his memory and movement in the right side of the body.

SOUNDBITE: MS. ZHANG, Tang’s mother
“I was very worried. Epilepsy is very scary. You never know when it comes. I would be worried even when he’s in the bathroom.”

Tang was first diagnosed with epilepsy when he was 7 years old, and frequently suffered seizures that gradually damaged his brain.

Just recently, doctors found out that the left side of Tang’s brain was almost entirely dysfunctional.

SOUNDBITE: HUANG HONGXING, Hunan Province No.2 People’s Hospital
“After conducting an examination, we found that the right side of Tang’s brain took over functions of the left side. So half of the brain became dysfunctional.”

As medicines were unable to stop the seizures, Tang’s parents allowed doctors to conduct a surgery called “hemispherectomy”.

During the operation, doctors disconnected one half of Tang’s brain, the half that was causing the disease, from the other half.

SOUNDBITE: HUANG HONGXING, Hunan Province No.2 People’s Hospital
“Normally epilepsy would affect a person’s speech and memory, but Tang has suffered from the disease for so many years. His right brain has taken over functions of the left brain. That’s also what we found to be true. After the surgery, he could both walk and talk.”

The hospital did an overall assessment of Tang’s health conditions on Monday, two weeks after the surgery.

He could now talk, feed himself, walk on his own, and has suffered no seizures since then.

Leave a Comment