Archives for the ‘History’ Category

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Spectacles / Library of Congress

Spectacles / Library of Congress

A stroke can disrupt your reading, called alexia. The term was coined by neurologist Joseph Jules Dejerine in the late 19th century. He was introduced to patient “Monsieur C.” The patient was a wealthy, cultivated textile merchant, who had a stroke. Soon after, he discovered he could not read, although he could speak and write normally. Monsieur C. could even read music — not the lyrics, but the musical notation.

Read more brain history here.  Do any of you have alexia?

Phineas Gage

Phineas Gage / Unknown Photographer

Phineas Gage / Unknown Photographer

A case of changed personality: Phineas Gage was a young Vermont railroad worker who in 1848 had a terrible accident. An explosion caused a heavy iron rod to pierce his brain in the front area. Amazingly, he was still alive, walking and talking minutes after the accident, and he recovered. Gage eventually worked as a stableman in New Hampshire, a farmhand in San Francisco, and a stagecoach driver in Chile. Every place he lived he brought a souvenir: the 3 ½ foot iron rod that almost killed him.

If Gage’s outward appearance was his old self (he did lose one eye), his personality was thoroughly new. Before, he was a smart, well-balanced fellow, a good businessman. After his accident he was fitful, profane, and stubborn. “Gage,” his doctor famously wrote, “is no longer Gage.”

Are you different?

Americans

Americans / Wellcome Images

Americans / Wellcome Images


Today marks the 22nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – landmark legislation that advanced the civil rights of people with disabilities throughout the nation. More than 54 million people in the United States live with a disability of some kind.

Monsieur Leborgne

Brain 1878 / Wellcome Images

Brain 1878 / Wellcome Images


One famous brain in neuroscience is that of Monsieur Leborgne. In 1861 he had a stroke that caused him to lose speech but not other skills. When he died, an autopsy revealed a distinct lesion in his brain’s left hemisphere. This showed that different brain areas affected different functions: speech in one area, motor skills somewhere else.  Until then, many thought the brain was an orb that did everything at once.

Monsieur Leborgne’s brain is on display in the Musée Dupuytren in Paris.

More on localization…

Soul

Broca Memoirs 1877 / Wellcome Images

Broca Memoirs 1877 / Wellcome Images

Up until the 19th century, Western theologians thought the brain was where the Christian soul was. The brain was not divisible with separate areas for language or motor skills. It was symmetrical, a godly orb.

But by the 1860s science demonstrated localization — different brain areas for different functions. The brain was not a symmetrical orb at all.

Where is the soul?

Who’s Talking?

Who's Talking? / Wellcome Images

Who's Talking? / Wellcome Images

Sometimes I say the wrong words now. Right after my stroke, it was common.

When the words coming out of your mouth are not what you intend, who is talking?

Brace Bash

Italian Splints 1914-18 / Wellcome Images

Italian Splints 1914-18 / Wellcome Images

If your ankle doesn’t work properly, you will trip when you walk. Then you have to wear a huge brace which holds your foot and leg in a 90° angle, in an “L.”

Every stroke victim I’ve met hates their ankle brace. They are big and clunky, like the ones in this picture.

I got mine off, because I’m a stubborn bastard.

Real Type

Typing 1927 / Wellcome Images

Typing 1927 / Wellcome Images

Visible

Diagram of the eye 1572 / Wellcome Images

Diagram of the eye 1572 / Wellcome Images

Brain Food

1900 English Tonic / Wellcome Images

1900 English Tonic / Wellcome Images