Posts tagged neurology

biomedicalephemera:

Though a name isn’t noted in the text, the case study notes (no loss of intelligence, negative personality change) lead me to believe that this is the inimitable Phineas Gage. Anyone who doesn’t know his story should go to the link and read the Smithsonian article on him. 
From Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine. George M. Gould & Walter L. Pyle, 1900.

biomedicalephemera:

Though a name isn’t noted in the text, the case study notes (no loss of intelligence, negative personality change) lead me to believe that this is the inimitable Phineas Gage. Anyone who doesn’t know his story should go to the link and read the Smithsonian article on him. 

From Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine. George M. Gould & Walter L. Pyle, 1900.

I don't want to interrupt this height party, but what are your thoughts on Phineas Gage? — Asked by avocadokitten

Aww, he was a cutie patootie!
Well, not really. But a fascinating subject nonetheless. For those who don’t know, Gage was, in retrospect, one of the best first looks at what really makes humans HUMAN…or at least what gives us our personalities. He was neuroscience’s best-known case for many decades, really.

The short version of the story: In 1848, at age 25, Phineas Gage was working on a railroad, tamping explosive powder into rocks to create new track lines. One day the powder detonated, and his tamping rod shot straight through his head, taking out his left eye and part of his frontal cortex.

While he was obviously expected to die shortly after, Gage somehow managed to escape infection and misadventure long enough to “heal” fully - though the person who left the hospital after this incident was a far different person than the one who went to work the morning before the accident.

While he was once a bubbly, friendly, jovial man, Phineas became prone to rages, drunkenness, violence, and eventually “fits” (most likely seizures). Though his doctors did not recognize it at the time, the reason for this was almost certainly the destruction of a large portion of his prefrontal cortex.

Even though Mr. Gage died 11 years later (at age 36) after a series of several grand mal seizures in quick succession, his legend and his legacy live on, both in historical culture, and in neuroscience.

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Smithsonian Museum on Phineas Gage

Stuff You Missed In History Class: Phineas Gage

The human brain, its nervous projections, layers, and cortical blood vessels

Though we’re probably subconsciously aware of our brains on a day-to-day basis, most of us generally don’t pay much direct attention to them. Of course, lots can go wrong in the mind, resulting in mental illness, physical illness, and in the worst cases, death.

But aside from everything that can go wrong in the brain, did you know that the mind, despite being only 2% of the average body mass, uses almost 25% of the oxygen we consume, and over 70% of the glucose we ingest? It’s a tiny organ, but it manages almost everything outside of the parasympathetic nervous system, and it requires a relatively high energy input (especially compared to other organs in the body) just to function on a daily basis.

The cells in the brain require, on average, twice as much pure energy as other cells, just to function, and when you’re focusing hard on a big paper, or trying to brainstorm and be creative, your mind is in overdrive! Even if you haven’t moved in two hours, if you’re focusing hard on an essay and coming up with lots of great ideas, your lunch isn’t going to last long, with what your brain is demanding.

Since it’s not a muscle, and you’re not necessarily doing anything physical when you think, it can be hard to believe that the brain needs so much energy.

However, the cerebellum, and especially the frontal and prefrontal cortices (where our personality and “creative minds” exist, for the most part) demand more energy than our stomachs, livers, spleens, and kidneys combined! Depending on how your brain is wired, that fact can make it extremely exhausting to deal with other people, as you’re engaging your prefrontal cortex to a high degree. Thinking hard and being creative can sap your energy, too - that’s why I always had an apple or banana to eat midway through my morning courses!

Tabulae Anatomicae. Bartholomeo Eustachi, 1570 (Published 1783).

The Anatomy of the Brain, Explained in a Series of Engravings. Charles Bell, 1803.

recalculate-restate-reverberate:

A 1914 depiction of a neuron cell body by a scientist that personally inspires me, Santiago Ramón y Cajal. The image appears in Portraits of the Mind, a new book on the history of neuro-imaging represented by the images, and the Smithsonian magazine feature Beauty of the Brain.

recalculate-restate-reverberate:

A 1914 depiction of a neuron cell body by a scientist that personally inspires me, Santiago Ramón y Cajal. The image appears in Portraits of the Mind, a new book on the history of neuro-imaging represented by the images, and the Smithsonian magazine feature Beauty of the Brain.

Though a name isn’t noted in the text, the case study notes (no loss of intelligence, negative personality change) lead me to believe that this is the inimitable Phineas Gage. Anyone who doesn’t know his story should go to the link and read the Smithsonian article on him. 
From Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine. George M. Gould & Walter L. Pyle, 1900.

Though a name isn’t noted in the text, the case study notes (no loss of intelligence, negative personality change) lead me to believe that this is the inimitable Phineas Gage. Anyone who doesn’t know his story should go to the link and read the Smithsonian article on him. 

From Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine. George M. Gould & Walter L. Pyle, 1900.

The Utica Crib for uncooperative patients at insane asylums, and later, at (somewhat) more legitimate “institutions”.

The Utica Crib for uncooperative patients at insane asylums, and later, at (somewhat) more legitimate “institutions”.