A British boy born with just 2 percent of his brain defied the odds and is now a happy 6-year-old — after it “grew back.” His parents were advised to terminate the pregnancy five times after finding out that their baby had "no brain".
'Miracle Boy' Born Without A Brain Defies The Odds By Growing It Back
A boy who was born with just two percent of his brain is now 10 years old and living happily, despite what doctors had warned. In an incredible turn of events, Noah Wall's brain 'grew back' over the years, reaching 80 percent when he was just three.
Noah Wall, from Cumbria, in the north of England, U.K., was diagnosed with spina bifida in his mother Shelly Wall's womb. The birth defect causes the structure from which the baby's brain and spinal cord forms to not close properly. This can cause harm to the baby's nerves and spinal cord and leads to disabilities.
During Shelly's pregnancy, doctors warned the family their son would be paralyzed from the chest down, and could be born with other abnormalities, according to the Hugs for Noah website. It was feared his spina bifida was so severe it would not be possible to close the gap. In the womb, a cyst in his brain destroyed the organ leaving behind a small segment at the front of his head.
It was for these reasons that doctors asked Noah's parents, Shelley and Rob, from Cumbria, if they wanted to terminate the pregnancy - not once, but five times. However, they were determined not to take that option, even in the face of doctors sketching out the worst case scenario.
"If younger people were offered that choice, they may have felt pressured into taking it," explained Rob, who also has two daughters with Shelley.
"But because we're older parents, we know our own mind and we're positive people. So we wanted to give Noah the chance of life."
Noah was born on March 6, 2012, via c-section because his head had grown so large due to hydrocephalus, a condition where cerebrospinal fluid builds in the brain and causes the pressure in the skull. After his birth, surgeons performed a double operation where they closed up an opening in his back and placed a shunt inside his head to drain life threatening fluid from his brain.
Docs told the parents that Noah would be severely mentally disabled - unable to talk, see, hear or eat. Incredibly, however, by the time Noah was 3 years old his brain had grown to 80 percent of the normal size. Now doctors believe Noah’s brain had actually just been squashed into a small space — and that after he had a shunt fitted, it grew back to where it should have been.
“Even if his brain had been so squashed up, he’d be severely mentally disabled because of all that damage and look at him — he’s as bright as a button,” said Noah’s father.
At the age of six he learned to talk and hoped to be able to walk, surf and ski with the help of a pioneering clinic in Australia. The treatment that Noah’s been having in Australia is called “neurophysics” — a mixture of physiotherapy and cognitive exercises.
Despite being paralysed from the chest down, Shelly and Rob were determined to send little Noah to a mainstream school. Shelly already home-schools Noah, and will continue to do so alongside his one day a week at school. This allows him to attend his physiotherapy and hydrotherapy appointments, as well as various doctors' appointments and scans.
Writing on the Hugs for Noah website, Shelly said she hopes Noah's case will raise awareness about the importance of taking folic acid during pregnancy. This can prevent spine and brain defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly.
"Even though I took it I didn't take it early enough," she wrote, "No one told me just how important folic acid was."
Noah Wall, now ten years old, hopes to learn how to walk after undergoing a five-hour operation to straighten his legs. He is determined to follow his dream of running and eventually scoring a goal at a football stadium - and has taken his first steps to make that a reality.
Noah has spent his entire life since birth defying the odds, after doctors believed he would live in a vegetative state due to his condition. Hats off to Noah and his family - no doubt this kid will continue to wow us in the years to come.