Previously unpublished photographs of Albert Einstein's brain have allowed examination of unusual features possibly related to his cognitive functions.
After Einstein's death in 1955 his brain was removed and photographed before being sliced into sections to create histological slides. The study, led by anthropologist Dean Falk of Florida State University, examined 14 of those photographs, including some taken from unconventional angles, which show unusual features in the brain's external gross neuroanatomy.
Amongst the observations made by the team was that Einstein had an "extraordinary prefrontal cortex" -- something which could relate to the brain structures underlying his extraordinary cognitive skills, particularly his talent for thought experiments.
Also of note were Einstein's unusual parietal lobes -- which have been previously linked to his visuospatial and mathematical abilities -- and the expanded somatosensory and motor cortices in the left hemisphere.
The observations made during the study have been correlated with the roadmap of Einstein's brain created when it was divided into sections to enable future researchers to connect the external anatomy with the internal.
However, the paper's authors were themselves reluctant to draw any concrete conclusions about how the unusual structures relate to Einstein's cognitive abilities.
The study concludes, "We hope that future research on comparative primate neuroanatomy, paleoneurology and functional neuroanatomy will provide insight about some of the unusually convoluted parts of Einstein's brain that we have described with little, if any, interpretation."
Labels: brain-a-journal-of-neurology, dean-falk, Einstein-parietal-lobes, florida-state-university