Noah Wall was dubbed ‘The Boy With No Brain’ last year. A documentary narrating how he had developed a rare condition in the womb had led him to earn this title. Because he was literally born with less than 2 percent brain.
Owing to a rare complication of spina bifida – a birth defect involving the spinal cord – which led to severe hydrocephalus, Noah’s head had filled with liquid and his brain was squashed during the pregnancy.
Noah’s parents, Rob and Shelly were advised five times to terminate the pregnancy but they refused despite the risk they faced – that Noah would be severely disabled if he survived the birth.
Doctors did brain scans on Noah right after his birth, and tests confirmed their worst fears. The hydrocephalus had badly damaged his brain.
Nearly all of his brain tissue was nonfunctional. You can see the effects of the hydrocephalus in the scan on the left, where Noah is pictured with just two percent brain function.
Then, something miraculous happened. Doctors assumed Noah would never see his first birthday, but the little boy began to defy expectations.
Not only did the four-year-old survive but also learned how to count, surprising everyone from his parents to his doctors. But more amazing is that his brain is continuing to grow as he grows.
Noah’s neurosurgeon Dr. Claire Nicholson agrees when she says, “He teaches the medical profession that you can’t ever know.” Dr. Nicholson who works at Newcastle’s Great North Children’s Hospital, also adds that Noah is a “remarkable child with two remarkable parents.”
According to the mother, “When the consultant told us [the parents], she was in tears — she had never heard of it before. They don’t know how or why, but Noah will be used as an example for junior doctors and for brain surgeons. We just cannot believe it — it’s a miracle, we are completely baffled.”
Now, Noah is a bright and bubbly 4-year-old. He will turn 5 next month, another benchmark his parents and doctors thought he would never see.
Noah can count to ten, he can talk, and now he is even learning how to write. He’s right there with all of the other four-year-olds when it comes to his brain development.
Best of all, little Noah is now off to school.
After that, his parents plan to focus entirely on the future. He’ll be in an ordinary school, working alongside all of the other schoolchildren to keep growing and developing his extraordinary, miraculous brain.
Noah still has a variety of health challenges. He is paralyzed from the chest down because of his spina bifida, and his lower body is misaligned.
He has had a number of grueling surgeries to help realign his pelvis and legs. Little Noah most likely faces a lifetime of surgeries and procedures to help strengthen his legs.
His parents hope that with extensive therapy and treatment for his paralysis, he might one day be able to walk. These physical challenges seem small next to the incredible medical miracle Noah has already achieved.
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