Born in Detroit, Michigan, Ben did not do well in school and performed so poorly that he was called "dummy" by his classmates. His mother Sonya, a single parent with only a third grade education, was the only provider for the family and reared Benjamin and his brother alone. However, she knew the importance of education and pushed Ben and his brother. She made them stop watching so much television and read. They had to read daily and write book reports at home. Ben began to enjoy reading and went on to finish high school, college and medical school.
Dr. Carson is Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. He achieved this position as the youngest director of pediatric neurosurgery when he was only 33 years of age. In 1987, he became the first neurosurgeon to successfully separate Siamese twins who where joined at the head.Ben loves helping children, not only as a doctor helping with brain injuries, diseases, and disorders, but he cares about educating and motivating young people in their quest for success. He has created the Carson Scholars Fund, reading rooms to promote youth literacy in many elementary schools, and math and science centers in YMCAs and Boys & Girls Clubs across the United States.
Ben loves to write and has written over 90 publications on neuro-surgery. He has received over 23 honorary degrees, several merit awards and most recently (June 19, 2008), the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest award a civilian (a regular person like you and me) can receive in the United States. He is the author of Gifted Hands, Think Big, and The Big Picture. What a Brain!
Did you know that in 1984, Alexia Irene Canada was the first African-American neurosurgeon in the United States.
In 1920, Harold Ellis was the first African-American to obtain a degree in neurology.
The brain is made up of five (5) parts: cerebrum, cerebellum, brain stem, pituitary gland, and the hypothalamus.
The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain. You use your cerebrum when you work hard to solve a math problem, draw pictures on Mop Top's drawing board, or when trying to figure out how to play video games.
The cerebellum is located in the back of the brain. It controls your movements, balance, and coordination. Can you stand on one leg without falling?
The brain stem is very important. It controls breathing, digestion, blood circulation...all of the functions your body needs to stay alive...the ones that work without you having to think about them. Do you have to remember to breathe? How about remembering to tell your stomach to digest your food? That is the job of the brain stem. It is located below the cerebrum and in front of the cerebellum.
The pituitary gland is about the size of a pea. It is very small, but does a very big job. It produces and releases hormones into the body that controls how much you grow and gives you energy.
The hypothalamus controls the temperature of the body. It tells your body to sweat if it gets too hot and to shiver if it gets too cold. The hypothalamus knows the temperature of your body should be around 98.6° Fahrenheit or 37° Celsius. It will cause your body to "shiver" and "shake," to make sure you don't bake... working hard to keep you in good shape.