Well….my title for this piece is not quite accurate, but it rhymes!
I’m talking about the famous patient from the past, Phineas Gage. His story if one of the ‘classics’ of neurology, as he had a severe injury from an explosion that damaged his brain, and he lived to tell about it. Although never formally studied by scientists, there have been many reports over the years about the course of his injury, recuperation, and later life. Much of this has achieved the level of myth, and it is the challenge of sifting myth from fact that prompted the latest article in SLATE MAGAZINE (READ IT HERE).
Did the damage to his brain yield a man forever changed by that fateful day, or did his brain heal and leave him little different than prior to the injury? Is the frontal lobe area in control of our personality, or is it only a minor player? Read the SLATE MAGAZINE STORY to get a more objective view of the historical details as they are known.
Even I have spoke about Gage’s influence on our understanding of memory, when I gave my talk about memory and Alzheimer’s disease (Minute 8 of the Memory Video >>>HERE) Much of what I said was incorrect and influenced by the publication from one of my former professors, Dr. Antonia Demasio (U of Iowa Neurologist…now at USC department of Neurology.)
So…like many people who think they ‘know’ the story….the truth is more interesting than the stories we’ve generally told.