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The Secret Life of the Brain
History of the Brain 3-D Brain Anatomy Mind Illusions Scanning the Brain The Episodes:
History of the Brain
Model of Phineas Gage's skull

Model of Phineas Gage's skull.

Phineas Gage, a railroad worker, survives a bizarre accident in which the frontal lobe of his brain is pierced by an iron rod during an explosion.
Although he eventually recovers, he experiences profound mood and behavior changes. By all accounts, a quiet, industrious worker before the accident, Gage becomes a surly, combative man who can not hold down a job. This famous case, now found in countless neuroscience textbooks, was an important milestone in the study of the brain's anatomy because it suggested that key parts of the personality resided in the frontal lobe. These findings indirectly lead to the development of the procedure called lobotomy, which was based on the theory that removing portions of the frontal lobe could cure mental derangement and depression.

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