Fifth International School On Mind, Brain And Education

2010, August 1-6

Learning, Arts,
and the Brain

Directors: Antonio M. Battro and Kurt W. Fischer
Program officer: María Lourdes Majdalani

Abstract: Antonio M. Battro
Academia Nacional de Educación, ARGENTINA
One Laptop Per Child Association. Chief Education Officer.

The art of fencing and painting with a half brain
A right functional hemispherectomy performed when Nico was three years old was not only successful to stop a devastating and intractable epilepsy but permitted him to grow up as a charming and intelligent child in a healthy and supporting family (Battro, 2000). He finished elementary school and entered high school. He abandoned his studies when he was eighteen but he expects to finish them later. Meanwhile he got a diploma on informatics for secretarial work as a disabled person and, most important, he became an amateur of fencing (foil, epée and sabre) and a member of the national team for special fencing on wheel chair. This young man twenty years old now has a dream: to become a professor of special fencing and to make a living on that. And, most remarkable, he is becoming also a painter. How could Nico, being hemiplegic and hemianopic, besides a profound loss of a substantial amount of gray and white matter as a result of his right hemispherectomy, succeed in the arts of fencing and painting? I will try to reflect on this exceptional case.