Three Famous Brain Lesion Patients in History

There are three famous brain lesion patients in history Phineas Gage, Tan, and HM. These lesions were important case studies to scientist so they can understand more about the brain.

In the 1800’s Phineas Gage was a railroad construction foreman who one day on his job used a tamping iron, to pack explosive powder into a hole. This became an explosive action that sent the tamping iron rod through his cheek going into his brain. In reality, Phineas didn’t die, a doctor performed a procedure on him and removed a piece of his brain. After the procedure Phineas was fine. Within a month he was able to do everyday activities; however, after the recovery he was not the same. Before the accident on the job he was this loveable man and everyone liked him. After the accident he went back to work and his coworkers described his personality as always suddenly changing in mood swings or behavior, he didn’t last long on the job. The brain injury changed Gages personality. The lobe that was involved in his lesion was the frontal lobe.

Louis Victor Leborgne was a french man whose nickname was Tan because that was the only word he knew how to say. It was weird that Tan could follow commands and understand everything that was said to him but was not able to express speech. Near the ending days of his life Dr. Paul Broca met Tan and was fascinated by him. Following his death Dr. Broca performed an autopsy and found a lesion on the frontal lobe of his left cerebral hemisphere above his left eye. Broca called Tan’s loss of language Aphasia; this area of the brain today is called Brocas area. The lobe involved in his lesion was the temporal lobe.

Henry Molaison or H.M., as a child suffered from severe epilepsy, which may have been caused by a bicycle accident. He had seizures that grew as he got older and they were so powerful that he was not able to live a normal life. His doctors were able to locate the cause of his seizures in his brain and decided to remove the affected tissues of the brain. Thereafter, he undergo surgery without any blips or malfunctions. When Henry woke in recovery, he could remember his past, but not his presence that being stated he couldn’t form no new memories. He could perform working memory task and spent the rest of his life in a hospital. The lobe involved in his lesion was the hippocampus in the medial temporal lobe.

These three main tragedies contributed to the study of brain science by inspiring scientist to analyze brain lesions with newer technology. Science shows that activity in the brain is entwined with behavior and mental processes. Brain abnormalities can be used to understand the functions of a healthy brain and their impact on behavior. A normal brain should coordinate together with emotion, thought, behavior, and transmitting your nerves to sensation. It should be able to control your everyday routine. Without a normal brain, you wouldn’t be able to access your everyday needs.    

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