A Brain Case and Health


We perceive our world through our senses. And through our senses our brain let us perceive things. But what if our senses fail to work? What if a part of our brain fails to slog? What will be the world that we will perceive? Will we stand next to a person with medical uniform just in case?

As I am thinking about this questions I remember my psychology class where I discussed about “the American Crowbar Case”. This case is about a railroad foreman,Phineas Gage. Phineas Gage is probably the most famous person to have survived severe damage to the brain. He is also the first patient from whom most psychology students learned about the relation between personality and the function of the brain.

Phineas Gage stood five feet six inches tall, weighed 150 pounds, and was 25 years old at the time of the incident. By all accounts this muscular foreman of the Rutland and Burlington Railroad excavating crew was well-liked and respected by his workers, due in part to “an iron will” that matched “his iron frame.” He had scarcely known illness until on September 13, 1848, in Cavendish, Vermont an accidental explosion of a charge he had set blew his tamping iron through his head.

“He was engaged in charging a hold (sic) drilled in the rock, for the purpose of blasting, sitting at the time upon a shelf of rock above the hole. His men were engaged in the pit, a few feet behind him… The powder and fuse had been adjusted in the hole, and he was in the act of ‘tamping it in’, as it is called…While doing this, his attention was attracted by his men in the pit behind him. Averting his head and looking over his right shoulder, at the same instant dropping the iron upon the charge, it struck fire upon the rock, and the explosion followed, which projected the iron obliquely upwards…passing completely through his head, and high into the air, falling to the ground several rods behind him, where it was afterwards picked up by his men, smeared with blood and brain.”

The tamping rod itself was three feet seven inches in length, with a diameter of 1 inch at its base and a weight of 13 pounds. The bar was round and smooth from continued use, and it tapered to a point 12 inches from the end; the point itself was approximately inch in diameter.

Some months after the accident, probably in about the middle of 1849, Phineas felt strong enough to resume work. But because his personality had changed so much, the contractors who had employed him would not give him his place again. Before the accident he had been their most capable and efficient foreman, one with a well-balanced mind, and who was looked on as a shrewd smart business man. He was now fitful, irreverent, and grossly profane, showing little deference for his fellows. He was also impatient and obstinate, yet capricious and vacillating, unable to settle on any of the plans he devised for future action. His friends said he was “No longer Gage.”

Based from this case the brain is one of the contributor of a person’s personality.Phineas Gage as having been hard-working, responsible, and “a great favorite” with the men in his charge, his employers having regarded him as “the most efficient and capable foreman in their employ.” But these same employers, after Gage’s accident, “considered the change in his mind so marked that they could not give him his place again”. These changes are theorized by some experts as a result of his brain damaged especially the damaged to his frontal brain.

In many medical cases laymen can always get something, lessons or mistakes, points to ponder and even new knowledge but sometimes cases like this is hard to understand. Specially that many cases are not really sure if they are pure facts. As I thought about this case I realized that our body is made by God as purely sufficient for itself. Any abnormality that will happen in it will eventually affects abnormally. Therefore our job as the owner of this body is to take good care of our health for health is wealth. And it is really good to perceive things as it is normally perceived without any hindrance of illness or disability.