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Science in Seconds - Phineas Gage

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Science in Seconds Know Everything People of Science PHINEAS GAGE Torah Kachur: Phineas Gage was not a scientist. Records don't even indicate whether he was particularly smart. But he did revolutionize how smart people thought of our smartest organ. Phineas Gage was a rail worker in 1848, where he was in charge of using the tamping rod to pound the blasting powder to create a charge for clearing rock. A freak accident occurred, where the charge exploded, and projected the three and a half foot long and one and a quarter inch diameter tamping rod up under his left cheek bone and out the top of his head, taking a lot of his brain with it. The crazy part is that Mr. Gage survived. Not just survived, but was conscious and talking on the ox cart to the village doctor. He lost a large part of his left forebrain, but lived for another 12 years. The more shocking part was that Phineas Gage was certainly no longer Phineas Gage. His mood, personality and temperament changed after the accident, to the point where he could no longer hold the job he excelled at before. Despite this, his memory and cognitive skills stayed largely intact. Just as was normal at the time, Phineas Gage became a part of a traveling freak show. After his death, his skull was exhumed and is studied to this day to determine which parts of his brain were affected, and how he could have survived such a massive trauma with few side effects, the subsequent death notwithstanding. Neurologists argue about which regions were affected and to what degree, how much of his right frontal lobe bearing the bulk of the debate. The frontal lobes are responsible for our higher mental faculties, with the left lobe damage often resulting in language difficulties and associated pseudo depression. Gage's case highlighted that the front part of our brain is key in determining morality, personality, and what we think of as our humanity. Gage is still the most famous neurology patient of all time. His case initiated the idea of different parts of the brain having different functions, which is amazing, and revolutionized our understanding of our unique organ. It also started profanation and phrenology, which are doubt. Courtesy of Science in Seconds – All rights reserved Only for educational/non-profit purposes. (Translators are invited to put their name here)

Video Details

Duration: 2 minutes and 15 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: All rights reserved
Producer: Science in Seconds
Director: Science in Seconds
Views: 2,932
Posted by: tradottiinitaliano on Jul 9, 2012

Neurologists usually deal with brains of trauma patients after they have been removed. They get to poke and prod the corpse as much as they want. But Phineas Gage was evidence of how little a brain we actually need to still be considered human. Mr. Gage had a living, non-surgical and accidental lobotomy, and lived to tell the tale....for cash.

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