Dude Gets Beaten Up, Awakes A Math Genius

By Courtney Flannery 2014-05-07 16:48:07
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I'm going to come right out and say it: math is hard. As a kid I struggled to pass any math class, while getting perfect grades in English. Being able to do calculations just never came naturally to me. These days, I can barely wield a calculator correctly. Consequently, whenever I hear about someone who is good at math related stuff, I'm amazed. Take this guy for example. He's a math genius, and all he needed was a traumatic brain injury to get him there.

According to Salon.com, Jason Padgett was your average guy before suffering brain trauma . Back in 2002, he was unfortunately attacked by two men outside a karaoke bar. These two jerks kicked Padgett in the head repeatedly, causing him to see a flash of light and be knocked out. He suffered not only a pretty nasty concussio, but bleeding in his kidneys. When was finally healed enough to wake up, Padgett found that he was a math genius .

He had developed a condition called synesthesia, which causes two or more senses to blend together. Jason can literally visualize patterns in a way that most of us can't, like describing vibrations in a cup of water or swirls of cream in a coffee mug in a mathematical way. Other people with the disorder can often taste or smell colors or other interesting combinations of senses. Acquiring extreme intelligence like this is very rare, and doctors weren't even sure at first what made Padgett's brain shift so dramatically.

They ran powerful MRIs on his brain to see if they could detect what unleashed his inner mathlete. What they found is that the zones in Padgett's brain responsible for mathematic reasoning lit up an incredible amount when they showed him images of math equations, both real and imagined. They also learned they could tone down is synesthesia by turning off parts of his brain with electrical impulses. Doctors believe it's possible that when neurons died in his brain from the injury, those around it turned on to compensate for the loss. I personally think Jason Padgett might just be a super hero, and his latent powers were unleashed by this unfortunate encounter.

Padgett's math skills have come at a pretty big price, though. He now suffers from severe obsessive compulsive disorder , and trust my first hand experience with that monster, it completely sucks. He also has pretty terrible post-traumatic stress disorder. He seems pretty upbeat about the whole ordeal, though, and has even penned a memoir, Struck By Genius: How a Traumatic Brain Injury Made Me a Math Marvel. I hope nothing but the best for Jason in the future and that through his exceptional genius, we can all learn a little more about how our brains function. And maybe ,he can give me some math lessons too.
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