Head Injury to Math Genius
A recent article in the National Post highlighted the miraculous outcome a young father had after sustaining a horrible head injury.
One evening in 2002, Jason Padgett was leaving a karaoke bar and was attacked from behind suffering a severe blow to the head. Initially following the injury Padgett noticed that his vision changed; it became sharper and more comprehensive, and he became obsessed with different shapes and curves that stood out. After further assessment from his physicians Padgett was diagnosed with Savant Syndrome (also known as savantism).
It may seem quite extraordinary that one blow to the head can significantly alter ones mental abilities, and it is, however Jason is not the only person who has savantism. Savant Syndrome is a condition that affects some individuals with mental disability, who are/become extraordinarily adept in memory, arts, math and music. Following his head injury, Padgett, a once college drop-out began studying math and physics, which he excelled in like never before.
According to Dr. Darold Treffert, a Wisconsin based psychiatrist and leading expert on Savantism, "There are three levels of savant ability (which is more common in men than women, with male savants outnumbering females six to one). First, there's something called splinter skills - this would be a case with someone who has a talent for memorization above the norm, for example. Then there's something called a talented savant - someone who has a marked talent in one area - and finally, there's something called the prodigious savant - someone with truly extraordinary gifts. There are fewer than 100 known prodigious savants living, worldwide."
Padgett would fall into what Dr. Treffert calls the “talented savant” category, however he is quite unique because most individuals diagnosed with this syndrome are born with it. Making his scenario that much more unique. Head injuries can often have devastating effects on an individual, however in this case a head injury produced a remarkable result.
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