Sep 9, 2013


On September 13, 1848, Phineas Gage (a railway worker) was packing a hole with gunpowder, adding a fuse and sand, and then packing the charge down with a large tamping iron. The gunpowder ignited and the iron bar shot through his left cheek bone and exited out the top of his head, and was later recovered some 30 yards from the site of the accident. Within minutes he was up and walking. A few days later he had fungus of the brain. A couple of weeks after, 8 fluid ounces of pus from an abscess under his scalp was released. Damage to Gage’s frontal cortex had resulted in a complete loss of social inhibitions, which often led to inappropriate behavior. He was no longer the same Gage that his friend’s and family knew. Today his skull and the iron bar that shot through it are on display at Boston’s Warren Anatomical Museum.

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