Author of the forthcoming novel, The Only Living Man With A Hole In His Head, inspired by the true story of Phineas Gage.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Legacy of Phineas Gage

Things are getting finalized for the December 13th (lucky 13!) release of “The Only Living Man With the Hole in His Head”. Final edits, artwork and press release material will be completed this week. I am very excited about getting Phineas's story out there into the world. I have also been busy running my main bu8siness, Rent-A-Grandma, a domestic services agency that specializes in hiring out mature women for nannying, house care, pet care, elder care, etc. The business has been receiving quite a bit of media attention from newspapers, magazines (including an upcoming article on us in the October issue of Entreprenuer Magazine), radio and television (including an appearance on a national ABC network show – I am bound to a confidentiality agreement, so can't say which). This firestorm of publicity all started with a press release, which I'll next discuss in an upcoming blog.

Many people have asked about Phineas Gage's legacy on science, so I wanted to share a little bit about how his injury led to our better understanding of how the brain works. What follows is a quick summary:

The Gage case has become a classic case in neurology with a majority of introductory
psychology textbooks mentioning the case. Phineas Gage became the most famous patient in the history ofneuroscience because his case was the first to show a link between brain injury and personality change. In 1994, two neurobiologists, Hanna and Antonio Damasio, used computer graphics and neural imaging techniques to plot the trajectory of the tamping iron as it shot through Phineas's brain. The results were published in Science, in 1994. They discovered that most of the damage was done to the ventromedial region of the frontal lobes on both sides. The part of the frontal lobes responsible for speech and motor functions was apparently spared, so they concluded that the changes in social behavior observed in Phineas Gage were likely due to this lesion, because the researchers had noticed the same sort of change in other patients with similar lesions, causing a defect in rational decision making and the processing of emotion. “Gage's story was the historical beginnings of the study of the biological basis of behavior,” said Antonio Damasio.  

No comments:

Post a Comment