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Phineas Gage was a construction worker who suffered a head injury due to an explosion at a construction site. A metal rod was pushed up his cheek and through his head.

I have heard he demonstrated six symptoms after the accident. What were they?

I have researched this for a while but all I can find is that he was very inappropriate in social situations.

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    $\begingroup$ He wasn't just inappropriate , he had a complete personality change. Only his frontal lobe was damaged, similar to a lobotomy. It was the section that allows you to be rational and make clear decisions, the part that has our conscious, so I was told. We studied it a bit in Psycology 101. I don't believe he had any physical ailments from this, but I could be wrong. $\endgroup$ – SolarLunix Aug 30 '15 at 10:51
  • $\begingroup$ I don't see any question here. You are asking for the case study reference. I am afraid questions on such a kind of reference request is off-topic. Moreover, the question itself is not about any biological mechanism but is just about "listing" the observations. An example of an on-topic question on this area would be: "Why does injury in the X-lobe of the brain result in symptom-Y ?" This may be suitable for History of Science and Mathematics. Also have a look at this. $\endgroup$ – WYSIWYG Aug 31 '15 at 5:42
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Gage suffered a massive injury to the frontal cortex due to his accident in 1848 (Fig.1). Recent work using computer assisted tomography (CAT) has shown that contrary to popular belief, the injury was probably not bilateral, but confined to the left-lateral frontal lobe (Ratiu et al, 2004).

Gage injury enter image description here
Fig.1. Original drawing of the wound sustained by Gage (left). Source: Harlow (1869) and the reconstructed injury using modern CAT scanning techniques on the original tamper and Gage's skull (right). Source: Ratiu et al., (2004).

The question of OP is not very particulate about the nature of symptoms (physical or psychological symptoms), or about the time window of interest after the accident (acute or chronic symptoms). I assume that OP is asking about the behavioral changes of the subject after he was physically fully recovered. The following is a formatted quote from the original publication written by his treating physician (Harlow, 1869) describing the subject's behavior approximately 6 months after the incident:

His physical health is good [...], but says [he] has a queer feeling [in the head] which he is not able to describe. [...] His contractors, who regarded him as the most efficient and capable foreman in their employ previous to his injury, considered the change in his mind so marked that they could not give him his place again. The [...] balance [...] between his intellectual faculties and animal propensities, seems to have been destroyed. He is fitful, irreverent, indulging at times in the grossest profanity (which was not previously his custom), manifesting but little deference for his fellows, impatient of restraint or advice when it conflicts with his desires, at times pertinaciously obstinate, yet capricious and vacillating, devising many plans of future operation, which are no sooner arranged than they are abandoned in turn for others appearing more feasible. A child in his intellectual capacity and manifestations, he has the animal passions of a strong man. Previous to his injury, though untrained in the schools, he possessed a well-balanced mind, and was looked upon by those who knew him as a shrewd, smart business man, very energetic and persistent in executing all his plans of operation. In this regard his mind was radically changed, so decidedly that his friends and acquaintances said he was "no longer Gage."

The symptoms of Gage indeed match the current understanding of the functions of the frontal lobes. The frontal lobes are thought to be involved in a multitude of cognitive processes, such as executive function, attention, memory, and language, affect, mood, personality, self-awareness, as well as social and moral reasoning (Chayer & Freedman, 2001).

References
- Chayer & Freedman, Curr Neurol Neurosci Reports (2001); 1(6): 547-52
- Harlow, Bulletin of the Massachusetts Medical Society (1869) and see wiki page
- Ratiu et al., J Neurotrauma (2004); 21(5): 637-43

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  • $\begingroup$ "…it was proven to have been confined to the left-lateral frontal lobe" sounds like the injury occurred on the lateral side of the left frontal lobe. Did it? Because the tamper looks like it's going right through the middle of the lobe. $\endgroup$ – canadianer Aug 30 '15 at 19:49
  • $\begingroup$ @canadianer - they reconstructed the injury using the original tamper and Gage's skull using CAT scans. Sounded convincing to me. $\endgroup$ – AliceD Aug 30 '15 at 22:29
  • $\begingroup$ @user117852 - my pleasure, thanks for the interesting question. It took me a while because it needed some detective work :) $\endgroup$ – AliceD Aug 31 '15 at 12:29
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Phineas Gage actually recovered from his personality change.

A recent study was just published suggesting that most of what we thought we knew about Gage is incorrect, and he recovered from this extreme personality change. An emeritus professor, Richard Griggs, analysed over 23 books on Gage and came to the conclusion that he made a miraculous recovery, which people rarely discuss in textbooks. Griggs states that Gage ended up immigrating to Chile where he "worked as a horse-coach driver, controlling six horses at once and dealing politely with non-English speaking passengers." The importance of understanding and acknowledging this recovery is an important step towards understanding the plasticity of the brain.

Also, as explained in another answer, recent CAT scans suggest that the injury was confined solely to the left frontal lobe. Therefore some un-updated publications on his personality changes will also be incorrect because they will discuss the effects of bilateral frontal damage rather than left frontal damage.

Griggs, R. (2015). Coverage of the Phineas Gage Story in Introductory Psychology Textbooks: Was Gage No Longer Gage? Teaching of Psychology, 42 (3), 195-202 DOI: 10.1177/0098628315587614

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    $\begingroup$ +1 for this answer - It would be really interesting to know how much time had passed since he moved to Chile? My answer deals with 6 to 7 months after the accident. When did his full recovery set in? $\endgroup$ – AliceD Aug 31 '15 at 15:05
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    $\begingroup$ I think he moved to Chile around 18 months after the accident. It is really unknown what kind of recovery he made, but he did make some kind of recovery. The problem is that all of this happened in the 19th century and only comments from doctors can be used as evidence for his changes in personality and recovery. There is a really good article on the entire story here: slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2014/05/… $\endgroup$ – just_varholick Aug 31 '15 at 15:30

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