Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program

Phineas Gage

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Phineas Gage - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program

Phineas P. Gage (1823–1860) was an American railroad construction foreman remembered for his improbable survival of an accident in which a large iron rod was driven completely through his head, destroying much of his brain’s left frontal lobe, and for that injury’s reported effects on his personality and behavior over the remaining 12 years of his life.

Long known as the “American Crowbar Case”, Phineas Gage influenced 19th-century discussion about the mind and brain, par­tic­u­larly debate on cerebral local­i­za­tion,​​ and was perhaps the first case to suggest the brain’s role in deter­min­ing per­son­al­ity, and that damage to specific parts of the brain might induce specific mental changes. Gage is a fixture in the curricula of neurology, psychology, and neuroscience,​​ one of “the great medical curiosities of all time” and “a living part of the medical folklore” frequently mentioned in books and scientific papers. He even has a minor place in popular culture.

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