Medical Definition of Gage, Phineas

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Gage, Phineas: The most famous patient to have survived severe damage to the brain and the first from whom something was learned about the relation between personality and the function of the front parts (the frontal lobes) of the brain.

During work on a railroad in 1848, an unplanned explosion propelled a rod through Gage's head. Against all expectation, Gage survived. Once capable and responsible, Gage became profane, fitful, and obstinate - a man who was "no longer Gage."

Reviewed on 9/7/2018

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