Gage, Phineas (1823–1860)
Landmark Clinical, Scientific, and Professional Contributions
Phineas P. Gage is undoubtedly one of the most renowned patients to have survived severe brain damage (Macmillan 2000). Gage holds a prominent place at the cornerstone of neurological history and is “a fixture in neurological textbooks” (Larner and Leach 2002). Macmillan (2000, 2002) further described Gage as the first reported case to elucidate the relationship between frontal lobe function and personality. Debate regarding the extent of damage caused by Gage’s penetrating injury has ensued due in part to the dearth and unreliability of evidence available from the time of injury and gleaned from postmortem studies. Although there is a lack of consensus in the field, various researchers have theorized about the location and extent of Gage’s brain damage.
To gain an appreciation for Gage’s prominence in the early days of neurology, a review of the details surrounding the horrific accident and subsequent sequelae is warranted....
References and Readings
- Damasio, A. R. (1994). Descartes error: Emotion, reason and the human brain. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons.Google Scholar
- Harlow, J. M. (1868). Recovery from the passage of an iron bar through the head. Publications of the Massachusetts Medical Society, 2, 327–347.Google Scholar
- Larner, A. J., & Leach, J. P. (2002). Phineas Gage and the beginnings of neuropsychology. Advances in Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation, 2(3), 26.Google Scholar
- Macmillan, M. (2000). Restoring Phineas Gage: A 150th retrospective. Journal of the History of the Neurosciences, 9(1), 42–62.Google Scholar
- Macmillan, M. (2002). An odd kind of fame: Stories of Phineas Gage. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Macmillan, M. (2008). Phineas Gage-unravelling the myth. Psychologist, 21(9), 828–831.Google Scholar