14 May 2008

Alas, Poor Phineas...


Rendering of the brain injury suffered by Phineas Gage in 1848, and a rendering of a Trepanned skull.

I have always been fascinated by everything to do with the mind and the brain, sometimes to the point of obsession. I read everything I can get my hands on having to do with Psychology, Psychiatry, Neuroscience, and all the related chemistry, biology, and anatomy. Thankfully, Mo, over at the very fine Neurophilosophy Blog, (and a Masters-soon-to-be-doctoral candidate in Neuroscience at UCL), never fails to please. Today's post is about the discovery of Pre-Columbian, (Inca), Peruvian skulls which show signs of precise trepanation and Neurosurgery for brain injury or other types of illness. Trepanation by ancient cultures has long been considered witchcraft, or some other means of excising demons. (Though some primitive cultures may have done so, and may still.) The post is here, and be sure to read Mo's Illustrated History of Trepanation. It's fascinating stuff.
Alas, Poor Phineas...
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4 comments:

maud said...

Thanks for the Gage link, that was a great article. (and what a blog!!) I actually have this image idea that is... vaguely related, but Anne needs to work some graphic magic first. Watch this space!

Anne said...

Dear Hillbilly, the whole thing has always given me the heebeejeebees... If it worked for them poor ill and possessed peoples, fine...but keep them stakes, sticks and other implements away from me.
...please?

The Hillbilly said...

Yup. Phineas' story has always captivated me. Mo's blog is awesome, but he editorialises sometimes a bit much for a scientist. We had a little tiff/email exchange over a little something. He has some rabid anti-Psychiatry/medication readers that worship him. Ptooey! I say, get your facts straight! I love his blog!

Your project sounds cool...(rubbing hands together in anticipation) :)

The Hillbilly said...

Anne,
I'm with you pal, especially if I get caught in the Amazon Basin or Tibet with a cerebral edema, or a massive stroke. They call it the Third Eye Surgery. Yikes!

For some more REALLY tasty reading, a subject that is very dear to me, here:


http://www.mindhacks.com/blog/2007/07/an_illustrated_histo.html

:>

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