back to article Brainless civil servant amazes doctors

A French man whose skull was mostly occupied by a "huge fluid-filled chamber" was able to operate perfectly well as a civil servant - despite having "little more than a thin sheet of actual brain tissue", Reuters reports. The 44-year-old's condition was revealed when he went to hospital suffering from mild weakness in his left …


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  1. John Warlow

    Not the first person who's had this

    A woman in the UK was reported years ago as The woman with no brain. Years later when MRI resolution improved they discovered she too had a thin layer of brain on the inside of her scull. Like the guy in this report she had had a shunt installed when she was young.

    She too was married with children and ran the household accounts as her husband wasn't too good with computers.

  2. Lloyd

    French! Civil servant! No brain!

    Now there are 3 words that in any combination of two of them make perfect sense.

  3. Jonny Calcutta

    Job requirement?

    Suddenly the Home Office makes a lot more sense. Perhaps scans of MPs are now in order? All that Houses of Parliament booze has to go somewhere.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Those are actually 5 words and 3 exclamation marks.

  5. Lloyd


    I would call you by your given name but I would have to assume some French in you as you have hidden behind the anonymous post mechanism.

  6. Owen Carter

    In literature

    If anyone else remembers 'The Wasp Factory' by Iain Banks, they'll know why this story made me shiver.

  7. Greg

    Aaah, the Wasp Factory

    Cracking book. Very bizarre, but there's nothing like an unstable pubescent transgender serial killer to get your juices going.

  8. Lee Staniforth


    Pictures! I need pictures!


  9. Ross Ryles

    Re: Pictures

    Pictures in this article:

  10. regadpellagru

    Once upon a time

    Hmmm, is it a scoop that in that poor country of mine, we do have shitloads of civil servants dumber than a stone ? Even some carrying a weapon !

    Don't even start me on this .... OK, that's your fault, mate :-)

    Once upon a time, some french chap went to the Gendarmerie, since he needed to change his start train station, to go to military conscription (was mandatory at that time). The train ticket being paid by the public authority, it was based on home location, and the chap wanted to departure from his studying location. And the only military authority was Gendarmerie.

    After explaining the problem, the gendarme went on to type on a very old Tryumph typing machine, the new departure place of the said chap, onto the train ticket. That was some 25 letters + signature.

    No kidding, it took him 4 attempts to slide the sheet of paper in the typing machine, before having it correct:

    - 1st attempt: typed in the name of the chap. Was baffled the machine typed on the verso of the inserted sheet

    - 2nd attempt: same thing (yeah, it got inserted the same way ;-)

    - 3rd attempt: the guy got creative, here, reversed the sheet sense, but same side, not good either

    - 4th attempt: after what all witnesses thought would blow his brain up, he managed (took 30 s. of INTENSE thoughts) to insert the sheet the right way, and had the enthusiast look of someone that just discovered the secret of turning lead into gold, on his face.

    The chap went outside, happy he finally did it.

  11. Robert Grant Silver badge

    Homer Simpson Syndrome?

    Surely the first recorded example of said?

  12. Tony


    There were some images here but can't get the page to load right now.

    Maybe too busy.

  13. Dillon Pyron

    American civil servants

    At least he doesn't have sht (or is that shite?) for brains like most American civil servants. See Social Security Administration or Internal Revenue Service for examples.

  14. Jason Harvey

    Humans only use 10% anyhow

    so this guy must be using most if not all of his brain, while the rest of us are true slackers and only use about 10%

  15. Geoff Mackenzie

    10% figure ...

    ... is a myth. That's like saying you only use 2% of your foot, since that's the part that touches the ground.

  16. Morten Ranulf Clausen

    Not that again plz...

    "...only use about 10%"

    Any organ using up 1/6 of the total energy budget of the body is optimized to within an inch of its life, you can bet on it. Any savings there are going to be a significant boost to survivability. Evolution is a wonderful thing.

  17. Matt W

    Nothing new here

    Google John Lorber, a British neurologist, and his work on hydrocephaly. (sp?)

  18. Alex

    @ Robert

    Homer's brain is buffered from the skull by a larger than normal layer of fluid, while the French guy's brain is plastered to the skull by liquid pushing from the inside.

    I bet he further differentiates himself by scarfing down on croissants

  19. heystoopid


    Sadly , most people would have similar experience working with similar like minded people in most industries , they are called junior managers ,all with freshly minted University Degrees in Business Mismanagement , one of the easiest degrees that most Universities Issue , because you really don't need a brain to earn one!

  20. Joe Cooper

    Ten percent of the brain? Yours maybe...

    If I recall correctly, it was something like "typically about 10% of your synapses are firing at any given moment".

    Which is very, very different from the "90% of your brain is in a state of narcosis" bit that gets thrown around by people who prove it every day.

  21. Dave Goodrich

    Could explain something that's puzzled all of us....


    I hear that Bush had a colonoscopy recently and the results came back negative..... the doctors failed to find a brain there either...

    Does anyone know af Bush had a Brain shunt when he was a kid?


  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Perhaps he evolved his own Virtual Machine.

  23. Grant Bearman

    Typical civil servant

    Whenever I drive by a city-run facility or park where the water sprinklers running during a rain storm,. I will be reminded of this story.

    This happens frequently where I live, and I always wondered why. Mystery solved.

  24. Colin Sharples

    PC alert

    Oh great, now the PC brigade will be telling us we can't say "no brainer" anymore, in case we hurt the guy's feelings...

  25. the Jim bloke Silver badge

    Ancient Greeks

    who are the source of all reputable knowledge, decided the purpose of the brain was to cool the blood.

    This guy has obviously opted for watercooling.

  26. Clint Sharp


    Hmm, if Jim Bloke's right maybe he's planning a serious overclocking mission soon?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    He must be running on Windows!

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think we're missing the obvious here.

    Everyone with this lead perfectly normal lives and are good with computers (see the lady mentioned in an above comment)... and had a 'shunt' inserted during childhood.

    What if this shunt was in fact a weapon of the invading xeno forces? To create human versions of themselves? The sentient alien robots are already among us, waiting, watching, hiding!

    These are just the first steps, people! The Neo-Luddite Resistance must be warned!

  29. John Kirkham

    Seen before...

    There was a bloke in New York who died at 35, worked for the local council and in the autopsy found the skull cavity completely full of spinal fluid, he also had a thin membrain of brain tissue on the top of the the base bone where the head joins to the neck.

    He also had an IQ of 75 and was described as slightly slow but easy to get along with.

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