A 24-year-old woman from Shandong Province in China was recently admitted to a hospital after presenting with symptoms of dizziness and nausea. Once a brain scan was performed, it was discovered that she had no cerebellum, with the brain cavity that it normally fills instead replaced with cerebrospinal fluid. The patient is one of only nine people known to have lived with this condition.
The cerebellum is the area of the brain associated with motor control, timing, coordination and fine movement. The patient described a lifelong difficulty with balance, and her mother said she couldn't stand on her own until age four nor walk unassisted until age seven. Yet the woman was determined overall to have only "mild to moderate" symptoms and "slightly irregular" movement.
The woman's case is an important data set with regard to the study of neuroplasticity, in which one or more regions of the brain adapt to compensate for brain damage in another area. Learn more about this fascinating case at io9.