From brain disorders to artistry

The Los Angeles Times has an interesting article about how “people with Alzheimer’s, migraines, autism, epilepsy and more are picking up paintbrushes or putting drawing pencils to paper.” And despite the degenerative qualities of these disorders, as one neurologist put it, “art is…one of the few complex aspects of human cognition that doesn’t necessarily get worse.” The photo of the painting above is by the late University of British Columbia scientist Anne Adams.

[She] started to paint only after the onset of a type of brain degeneration called frontotemporal dementia, or FTD. Such damage, to the front and sides of the brain, tends to interfere with sources of personality, behavior and language. As her speech disappeared, her artistic creativity flourished. She became fascinated with French composer Maurice Ravel, who had suffered from the same disease. And she produced a painting called “Unraveling Boléro,” which attempted to translate the elements of Ravel’s music into visual form.

View more artwork here.

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