The human brain is arguably the most complex organ. Throughout life, it is shaped ever so slightly by each and every experience we endure. The resulting nuances are what make us unique individuals. Unfortunately, the more intricate the system, the harder it is to fix when damaged. Death of any brain tissue will almost certainly result in some sort of physical or cognitive impairment, and, in severe cases, epilepsy, coma, or death. This is because the lost brain tissue can neither grow back like skin nor be replaced like a kidney.
Or can it?
As a little girl, my favorite part of an overnight train journey in India was the tunnel. My restless, anxious eyes would await the moment when the train made its grand entry into the gigantic passageway only to excitedly celebrate the “light at the end of the tunnel,” quite literally! But one summer, things were slightly different – the train hit a red light and its rear end remained buried inside the pitch-dark tunnel for longer than usual. While my rational sense knew that it was only a matter of seconds before the train started again, an irrational fear of being trapped inside overcame me. It was then that I learned of a form of fear that 1 in 20 people around the world have – claustrophobia – the fear of enclosed spaces.Continue reading