donderdag 8 mei 2014

The Phineas Gage story

Slate has a story (Phineas Gage, Neuroscience’s Most Famous Patient) that is inspired by a book (An Odd Kind of Fame: Stories of Phineas Gage about this man who got a metal rod through his brain and became a fixture in every psychology textbook to illustrate the effects of the loss of the frontal lobes. According to the article very little is actually known about Gage. There are many claims, but they are often contradicting each other and without proof. Gage's story is often told as that much of his frontal brain was destroyed and that afterwards he started behaving badly, cursing a lot and losing his job. But the pictures that have been found from him after the accident show a well dressed man and it is now known that he later found another steady job. So the harmful effect of damage to the frontal brain may be exaggerated. Also the stories of Gage and others may actually be illustrations that even after major injury the brain holds a lot of capability to repair itself.

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