I am seeing this superstar of American anatomy at the end of this coming week (Friday) in the WAM. I mean I did study neuroscience so I think it is only fitting that I go and finally see this man’s skull and the infamous tamping iron that went through it.
Information from the WAM page concerning the Phineas Gage exhibit:
“The story of Phineas Gage illustrates some of the first medical knowledge gained on the relationship between personality and the functioning of the brain’s frontal lobe. A well-liked and successful construction foreman, Phineas Gage was contracted to work on the bed preparation for the Rutland & Burlington Railroad in Cavendish, Vermont in late 1840’s. On the 13th of September 1848, while preparing the railroad bed, an accidental explosion of a charge he had set blew a 13-pound tamping iron straight through Gage’s head, landing many yards away.
From all accounts, the front part of the left side of his brain was destroyed. Incredibly, almost immediately after the accident, Gage was conscious and able to talk, and insisted on walking to the cart that would take him into town to be treated. Despite his torn scalp and fractured skull, Gage remained lucid and rational during the ride and was able to speak with his attending physician, Dr. John Martyn Harlow. Dr. Harlow, a young physician in Cavendish, noted that although the tamping iron appeared to have gone directly through Gage’s frontal lobes, Gage was still able to speak rationally and answer questions about the injury. Gage was treated by Harlow and returned home to Lebanon, New Hampshire 10 weeks later.
Unfortunately, Gage’s recovery was not a complete success. The once friendly and well-liked man became ‘fitful, irreverent, and grossly profane, showing little deference for his fellows.’…”
READ MORE about this from the WAM.
Hours: M-F, 9AM-5PM; Closed Weekends and on Harvard Holidays
All you need is a valid photo ID.
Maybe I’ll see you there.
[Note: photos were obtained by doing a simple google search.]