The Story of Stefano Scola: From Glioblastoma To Savantism

25 January 2020 1 By Roberto Pugliese

I am happy to start the year with a message of hope because this story has something truly incredible.

Stefano is a commercial agent from Bolzano. A common life, a wife and four children. Stefano is well known in the city, as he was ski champion, when he was a boy he was a power in the giant slalom and then he became a ski instructor and he trained the young ski team until 2013.

In May 2013 he experiences severe headaches that did not pass for weeks. He decides to go to the emergency department of the local hospital and after a CT scan and an MRI discovers he has a 3 cm lesion in the right hemisphere. It is operated in the neurosurgery department in the same hospital by Dr. Andreas Schwarz. The operation is fine but the histological examination reveals that it is a glioblastoma multiforme for which there are no treatments but only a 15-month life expectancy.

Stefano decides to fight and with the support of his family and friends, he continues his treatment following the Stupp protocol, the standard treatment protocol for high-grade gliomas. After a few months, at a check-up visit, he meets a friend suffering from the same pathology. His friend is not very lucky: 14 months after surgery and 18 months after Stefano’s surgery she loses her battle with her glioblastoma. This upsets Stefano who tries to find ways to fight depression from listening to loud music while driving, continuing to work as a sales agent, to mental exercise with mathematical calculations.

A year passes and in November 2014, Stefano finds himself different. Perfectly healthy but with an incredible propensity for extreme mathematical calculations and immediate square roots and cube of more than complex numbers. Doctors call it acquired Savantism syndrome (from the French wise), to date there are forty cases recognized in the world, the most famous being that of Kim Peek who inspired the famous film Rain Man.
Needless to say, Stefano did not have these skills before, he studied accounting and was a normal student. The diagnosis of acquired Savantism was advanced by Dr. Enzo Di Spazio, an iridologist from Bolzano.

Several newspapers have talked about Stefano’s incredible story and Stefano has also found the strength to write a book.

I recently spoke with Stefano. Control resonances continue to be clean. Stefano is a 7 year old survivor from a multiform glioblastoma. Stefano was treated according to the Stupp protocol, therefore according to standard therapy. Stefano’s cognitive skills not only did not degrade as a consequence of the therapy but were even enhanced and Stefano became a mathematical genius.

The following images represent Stefano’s injury before the operation and a resonance with contrast liquid carried out on Stefano, while performing the mathematical calculations, which highlights the islands of genius that characterize the state of Savantism.

Stefano's  GBM
Stefano’s GBM
Stefano's Savantism
Stefano’s Savantism

We do not know at the moment how to explain what happened. It may be that Stefano was just lucky and that the surgery was able to remove all cancer cells. Savantism could even be a consequence of the continuous practice of calculations in order not to think about his tumor. On the other hand, it could be that the cognitive defusion caused by his practice of mathematical calculations was able to neutralize negative thoughts by taking energy away from the tumor. Hard to say, but certainly this story teaches us that a positive approach is possible and certainly helps to fight the most terrible of brain tumors.