Noah Wall was born with less than 2% of a brain – but he has amazed medics by growing into a happy, chatty little boy
When Noah Wall was born, doctors didn’t think he would survive.
The little boy, from Cumbria, had less than 2 per cent of a brain.
His head had filled with fluid, crushing his brain down into a thin sliver of tissue around his skull.
Noah’s parents Shelly and Rob were told that if he survived the birth, he would be severely mentally and physically disabled.
They were offered a termination five times – but they refused.
Now, more than four years after his birth, a remarkable documentary shows how Noah is continuing to defy doctors’ predictions.
The youngster, who lives in Abbeytown, has made amazing progress and can even count to 10, according to the Channel 5 programme.
Meanwhile, his brain is developing beyond all expectation.
Before his birth, Noah’s prognosis was so poor that his family were forced to make plans for his funeral.
His mother Shelly recalls: “I’d never seen a baby’s coffin before.”
Incredibly, Noah survived his difficult birth, and was rushed into his first major surgery moments later.
The open wound on his lower back – characteristic of spina bifida – was sewn up. Then a shunt was installed in his skull, to drain the excess fluid from his brain.
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The procedure was so successful that, over time, Noah’s brain has grown into the space once occupied by the fluid.
However, the spina bifida has resulted in paralysis from the chest down, so the little boy uses a wheelchair.
The moving, but hopeful, documentary, titled ‘The Boy Who Grew A New Brain’, shows just how far brave Noah has come. It will be shown on Channel 5 tonight.
The youngster’s neurosurgeon, Dr Claire Nicholson of Newcastle’s Great North Children’s Hospital, calls him “a remarkable child with two remarkable parents.”
Always smiling, he’s capable of asking his mum, “You alright?”, because she’s crying as she attaches his leg braces.
His parents and older sister Steph, 23, work hard to always be around him.
They continually keep his brain stimulated, to aid its growth – his family call this “brain-training.”
Thanks to all this love and attention, Noah is learning to read and write – skills that were one thought way beyond him.
Disabled Noah Wall had just two per cent of his brain working following birth but has astounded doctors after his brain started growing
These two scans show Noah’s brain at birth (left), and after three years’ growth (Image: newcastle chronicle)
A brain scan taken when he was three years old showed that his brain had expanded to 80% of a normal brain – an incredible result that no doctor expected.
Now, after a series of painful and difficult operations on his hips, he’s even contemplating the possibility one day of walking.
Noah’s father Rob says: “We’re determined that Noah will be able to walk,” either with mechanical aids, or without.
:”He teaches the medical profession that you can’t ever know.”
Tonight’s documentary is a follow-up of The Boy With No Brain, which was broadcast on Channel 5 last year and told Noah’s incredible story.
Since then, the little boy has learned how to count to ten, can hold a pen and even attends a local primary school, the programme reveals.