Dementia Reorganizes Brain For Art?

Dementia is often tragic, but in a few cases, it seems, it can provide the brain with a fantastic swan song, completely reorganizing it into an artistic machine.
Anne Adams’ painting of a migraine while suffering from synesthesia. From

Frontotemporal dementia, paired with a phenomenon called synesthesia, is apparently behind the beauty of Bolero, a masterpiece of composition and painting.

The prevailing logic on the way dementia works is that it strikes the brain in a disparate fashion, simply removing one’s ability. As the various incarnations of Bolero show us, that’s not the case. In the early stages, before dementia becomes detectable, it weakens once-dominant areas of the brain, which rather than manifesting itself, is bypassed by the mind.

As certain abilities weaken, others will increasingly compensate; a primary reason that Dr. Adams, a Canadian mathematics professor, found herself driven to paint in her late 50s.

It’s not until far later, when the disease is affecting larger areas of the brain that functions become impaired and the negative symptoms set in.