Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Big Brain, Little Brain

A University of California, Santa Barbara, study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that some men have an enlarged pelvic splanchnic ganglion, just big enough to be classified as a second, albeit much smaller, brain.

Researchers were conducting functional MRI tests on a group of 25 undergraduate men to determine why decision making in some males becomes so impaired in the presence of women. Test subjects were shown images of women in a variety of attire, anything from tight fitting sweaters to string bikinis, along with a few bare breasts and a picture of Justin Bieber as a control. According to study leader doctor Peter Johnson, the results were unambiguous. All subjects displayed a dramatic drop in blood flow to the frontal lobe, the region of the brain responsible of planning, decision making, and problem solving. Before continuing the research to find where the missing blood went, a few men who reacted to the Justin Bieber pictures were removed from the study. 

Researchers were helped in their search for the missing blood flow by Paleontologists who have long known “that some dinosaurs had a ganglion in the pelvis, which was so large…as almost to deserve the title of second brain.”* Johnson speculated that since mammals and dinosaurs shared a common ancestor 310 million years ago during the late Carboniferous Period, humans might have retained a neurophysiology similar to dinosaurs.

Johnson’s team repeated their experiment, focusing on the pelvic splanchnic ganglion. (Splanchnic is pronounced like spank, with the letter ‘L’ inserted after the 'P' [splaƋk-nik].) They were not surprised to discover that the ganglion was engorged with blood, accounting for the deficit upstairs. Unfortunately, the pelvic splanchnic ganglion in humans is much smaller than in dinosaurs, and the little brain is unable to make up for the lost cognitive function of the big brain. “The little brain is barely in control of the genitals,” said Johnson.

“We should have expected this result all along,” Johnson explained. “We had ample field evidence that men suffer cognitive collapse in proximity of women. A quick Google search reveals a plethora of natural clinical trials.”

In 1995, actor Hugh Grant, while dating, arguably, the most beautiful woman in the world, actress Elizabeth Hurley, was observed soliciting a Los Angles prostitute and caught a few minutes later on a residential street where the two were engaged in a lewd act. A short time after his arrest, Grant appeared on the Tonight Show where he attempted to explain his behavior to host Jay Leno, ruling out stress, fatigue, loneliness, or a fall down the stairs as a child as possible explanations. According to Johnson, Grant suffered an acute pelvic splanchnic ganglion induce psychosis, robbing his frontal lobe of blood and making him behave like a rutting Tyrannosaurus rex .

In a more severe case, Danny Bonaduce, former child star on the 1970s sitcom The Partridge Family, was arrested and charged with assaulting and robbing a transvestite prostitute in Phoenix. He later explained to police, “When I picked him up, I thought he was a girl.” 

“It’s extremely rare,” said Johnson, “but sometimes blood flow to the optic nerve is affected too. Bonaduce may have an unusually large pelvic splanchnic ganglion.

When asked if his team’s study would lead to any medical breakthroughs, Johnson replied, “I’m not sure how useful our study will be, but at least we’ve put to rest that old cliche that the little head thinks for the big head. It turns out that the little head doesn’t think at all.”
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* Richard Dawkins, The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence for Evolution

12 comments:

  1. Hilarious! I anticipate and new phrase in the male lexicon: 'I hope I get my pelvic splanchnic ganglion stimulated tonight!'

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    1. Make sure you're in a safe setting because your decision making capacity will be impaired. I hear it's worse than driving under the influence.

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  2. Hugh Grant proved that it doesn't matter how good looking your partner is, it is possible to still get bored. Of course it might be interesting to test this theory out. ;)

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    1. That could be costly experiment.

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  3. I'm glad science can help explain the stupidity of some men. I remember being mystified by that Hugh Grant story.

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    1. It doesn't just explain it; it justifies it.

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  4. Replies
    1. Yes, men are reptiles, but you knew that.

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  5. Thank God it wasn't David Cassidy... I was soooooo in luv with him as a teen! Bonaduce was a nerd

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    1. Well, there is that story about a secret daughter he fathered during a one-night stand in Tennessee.

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  6. you crack me up. hysterical. and justin beiber as the control? hahah

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