Last Tuesday’s New York Times carried a tragic and fascinating story. It was about Anne Adams, a scientist who was sticken by a degenerative and ultimately lethal brain disease called FTD, which is an acronym for frontotemporal dementia. The disease attacks particular portions of the brain only, with the effect that as the damaged parts atrophy other parts grow and thicken to pick up the slack. Because of the functional differention of different brain regions, this means that as deficiencies develop in some abilities, for example speech or mathematical reasoning, other talents may emerge, in some cases remarkable musical or artistic creativity. In Dr. Adams’ case, the disease gave her a gift for painting.
But the strangest part of the tale has to do with Dr. Adams’s growing fascination with the music of Maurice Ravel. Go and read about it here.