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In winter of 1850 phineas goes to boston so the doctors there can for themselves what are doctors like in in 1850 they look like gentlemen or at least they do in oil portraits you’d see a row of wise faces satin waistcoats gold watch chains and side whiskers photographs of doctors at work though are rare photographing anyone or anything moving is difficult because of light sensitive plates are very slow and a single exposure can take a fall minute yet the year before phineas’s accident a boston photographer named josiah hawes sets up his camera in a surgical operting theater and a daguerreotype that he entitles third operation using ether anesthes Most of us first encountered Gage in a neuroscience or psychology course, and the lesson of his story was both straightforward and stark: The frontal lobes house our highest faculties; they’re the essence of our humanity, the physical incarnation of our highest cognitive powers.
So when Gage’s frontal lobes got pulped, he transformed from a clean-cut, virtuous foreman into a dirty, scary, sociopathic drifter. Simple as that. This story has had a huge influence on the scientific and popular understanding of the brain. Most uncomfortably, it implies that whenever people suffer grave damage to the frontal lobes—as soldiers might, or victims of strokes or Alzheimer’s disease—something essentially human can vanish Putting phineas gage back together again
In our time phineas gage is a textbook case students of neurology or psychology study his case because it illustrates how the lobes of the frontal cortex the two halves of your brain that meet in your forehead are the seat of executive functions those are your abilities to predict to decide and to interact socially unfortunately phineas is not the only person to suffered damage to,the frontal cortex antonio and hanna damasio are renowned brain a husband and wife team of doctors regularly see people who remind them of phineas gage the damasios are are renoned brain researchers at the university of iowa hospitals and clinics in and treatbpatients with the same kind of fountal lobe damage that affected phineas like phineas these pateints with frontal lobe damage have trouble making decisions like phineas with his 1000 pebbles they preform well on logic and math tests but make strange choies in trading situations their emotional re sponses are unpredictable they seem out of step emotionally with the rest of the world the patients who come to the damasio’s clinic are not victoms of blasting accidents their brain injuries usually follow surgery to remove a tumor from deep inside the frontal cortex this kind of brain surgery is strictly a last resort to save patients lifes because even if rhe operation goes well the risk of side effects is high any damage to the frontal cortex can change behavior and personality forever as the case of phineas gage demonstrates sometimes cancer surgeons with many of the same symptoms as phineas all have frontal cortex damage all have trouble making decisions on personal or social matters all react with little empathy and seem to find emotion a foreign language The present study was conducted to test the hypothesis that individuals with substance abuse disorder exhibit structural deficits in the prefrontal cortex. Volumes of the prefrontal lobe in subjects with histories of polysubstance abuse The total volumes of the prefrontal lobe (left and right hemispheres) were significantly smaller in the substance abuse group than in the control group.
When the prefrontal lobe was segmented for gray and white matter, the deficit in the substance abusers was seen as significantly smaller volumes of gray but not of white matter. These results indicate that hypoplasia and/or atrophy in the prefrontal cortex accompany substance abuse and suggest that structural deficits in the prefrontal cortex may play an essential role in the neuropathological basis of functional impairments in substance abuse disorder, as demonstrated by functional brain imaging and cognitive studies The accumulated evidence suggests that abnormalities in the prefrontal cortex are associated with substance abuse. For example, recent studies using positron emission tomography September 13th Vermont was the day an amazing tragedy happened it was a normalday for Phineas gage he was a foreman working on the railroad blowing up rockswith his assistant and used a tamping iron made by the neighborhood blacksmith butwhen his assistant lit up the gun powder but Phineas wasn’t paying attention he wasdetracted by someone or something but at the last second he tried to move but itwas to late he was blasted on his back was confused about were the iron go but thenhe realize that the iron had gone through his head all the crew rushed to him it’s hard to believe that a iron rod shot through his skull and brain without killing phineas gage but its really is confusing that even if it’s wrote down it’s hard to believe but everything is possible and the facts about what happened to him is not clear but everything else is written down it’s dumb and his task was to blast the solid rock into peices small enoungh for his crew to dig loose with hand tools and haul away in ox carts the first step is to drill the a hole in the bedrock at exactly the right angle and depth or the explosion As Gage was doing this around 4:30 p.m., his attention was attracted by his men working behind him.
Looking over his right shoulder, and inad¬vert¬ent¬ly bringing his head into line with the blast hole, Gage opened his mouth to speak; in that same instant the tamping iron sparked against the rock and boom he blew back and he landed on his back hard and turned around confused thinking were did the rod go and his crew rush to him and they say look at his head and he realized that the the pole had gone through his head and in seconds his in pain but his crew thought how is phineas still alive and in my study around six o’clock was the time when the crew and phineas arrived at the town the lived in and they called for the doctor as fast as they could and the doctor did not believe what they had said until he saw him and he saved him but the phineas died that day and was replaced by a stingy roud and nonpatient man in the doctors notes he called phineas a boy in a man’s body but from him On May 18 Gage “left Santa Clara and went home to his mother. At 5 o’clock, A.M., on the 20th, he had a severe con¬vul¬sion. The family physician was called in, and bled him. The con¬vul¬sions were repeated frequently during the suc¬ceed¬ing day and night Harlow redeposited the iron this time with the skull in the Warren Museum, where they remain on display today and he had heard about his old life and thought he was a good before but he still did not change
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