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Imaginen tener la capacidad de memorizar 12000 libros, dibujar ciudades del tamaño de Londres o Roma con increíble exactitud, o simplemente calcular 200 dígitos del número PI utilizando únicamente nuestra mente. Bueno, pues esas son algunas de las capacidades de las personas con síndrome de Savant, el cual es un síndrome extraordinariamente raro y que se presenta frecuentemente en personas con autismo u otras enfermedades mentales serias.
 
Este síndrome se describió inicialmente en el año de 1789, cuando Benjamín Rush  documenta el caso de un paciente con la capacidad de calcular la edad de las personas en tan solo segundos. A partir de ese momento el fenómeno Savant ha fascinado a los científicos dedicados al estudio del cerebro, aunque aún no se haya podido dar una explicación satisfactoria del síndrome. Lo único que han establecido los científicos hasta ahora, es una asociación entre el síndrome y el daño cerebral que se presenta en pacientes con demencia frontotemporal progresiva, lo cual hace que en ellos se desarrollen habilidades artísticas sorprendentes, pero no habilidades abstractas o simbólicas. También se sospecha de la influencia del cromosoma 15 en la presencia o ausencia de habilidades Savant.
 
Entre los tipos de Savants se destacan los prodigiosos, dueños de sorprendentes  puntajes en pruebas de coeficiente intelectual; los Savants con talento, con habilidades parecidas a la de los prodigiosos pero con la diferencia de que los trastornos propios del autismo se manifiestan significativamente; y los Savants de minucias, los cuales presentan ciertas características Savant,  aunque limitadas.

Las habilidades que más sobresalen en los Savants son la capacidad para realizar cálculos matemáticos complejos, dominio de la música, y gran habilidad para las artes plásticas como la pintura y la escultura. Entre los Savants más destacados se encuentran Kim Peek, quien memorizó más de 12000 libros completos sin olvidar un solo párrafo dentro de ellos, Derek Paravicini, quien tiene la capacidad de interpretar cualquier melodía con solo escucharla una vez, o Stephen Wiltshire, quien en un documental para la BBC voló en helicóptero durante 15 minutos sobre la ciudad de Londres, y a su regreso dibujó la ciudad con extraordinaria exactitud, incluyendo cada detalle en las calles, en las casas y en los edificios.

Aunque las capacidades de estos seres humanos hagan que nos sintamos eclipsados, es necesario señalar que personas como el desaparecido Kim Peek, no son capaces de comprender y mucho menos concluir algo de toda la información almacenada en el cerebro. Es más, existe una teoría de que todos guardamos en nuestro cerebro estas asombrosas capacidades; esto lo sugiere el caso de un Savant llamado Orlando Sharoll, quien a los 10 años fue impactado en la cabeza con una pelota de baseball, y desde ese momento es capaz de recordar el día y el clima, cuando se le pregunta por una fecha en particular. Pero tampoco es necesario sufrir un traumático golpe en la cabeza para despertar las destrezas de nuestro cerebro, el trabajo duro, la buena educación y una pizca de inspiración, es la fórmula necesaria para acceder a ellas; sino que lo diga la gran maestra del deporte ciencia Susan Polgar, quien juega al ajedrez desde los cuatro años,  y en un estudio que realizaron de su cerebro para National Geographic Channel, reveló que la parte de su cerebro utilizada para reconocer los rostros de las personas, ella la adaptó para reconocer las diferentes jugadas que se presentan en un tablero de ajedrez. Esta capacidad la llevó a conseguir victorias incluso frente al gran Kasparov.


Camilo Alejandro Castillo Benavides
Estudiante de Maestria
Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

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