Einstein's brain really was different: Researchers

A specimen of Nobel physicist Albert Einstein's brain is seen in a glass slide at an exhibition at...

A specimen of Nobel physicist Albert Einstein's brain is seen in a glass slide at an exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in London March 27, 2012. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:04 PM ET

Albert Einstein's brain really was different from "normal" brains, researchers have found in a new examination of photographs of the genius's grey matter.

When the famed scientist died in 1955, his family gave permission for his brain to be removed and photographed from multiple angles. It was then "sectioned" into 240 separate pieces of tissue, which were also captured on camera.

Some 14 of the long-unseen photos were recently discovered at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Maryland and were studied by a research team led by Florida State University evolutionary anthropologist Dean Falk.

Compared to 85 "normal" human brains, the size and shape of Einstein's brain was consistent. But several areas of his brain were "extraordinary," the study found, raising the question of whether they could have been responsible for his genius.

One unusual feature was "a large knob-shaped fold... that represents enlarged motor representation for the left hand."

The researchers also found differences in the prefrontal, somatosensory, primary motor, parietal, temporal and occipital cortices.

"These may have provided the neurological underpinnings for some of his visuospatial and mathematical abilities, for instance," Falk said.

The findings were published Friday in the journal Brain.


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