Falk and colleagues examined the entire cerebral cortex of Einstein’s brain based on 14 recently discovered photographs. The researchers compared Einstein’s brain to 85 “normal” human brains and, in light of current functional MRI imaging studies, interpreted its unusual features.
“Although the overall size and asymmetrical shape of Einstein’s brain were normal, the prefrontal, somatosensory, primary motor, parietal, temporal and occipital cortices were extraordinary,” said Falk, the Hale G. Smith Professor of Anthropology at Florida State.
“These may have provided the neurological underpinnings for some of his visuospatial and mathematical abilities, for instance.”
Upon Einstein’s death in 1955, his brain was removed and photographed from multiple angles with the permission of his family. Furthermore, it was sectioned into 240 blocks from which histological slides were prepared. Unfortunately, a great majority of the photographs, blocks and slides were lost from public sight for more than 55 years. The 14 photographs used by the researchers now are held by the National Museum of Health and Medicine.