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The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat
Transcript of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat
He is a psychiatrist (age 78) and has been witness to many strange patients His goal in the book is to demonstrate the different causes and effects of certain brain disorders
Show the different approaches that psychologists and psychiatrists take in catagorizing and treating disorders A man who he names Dr. P is a prominent music teacher
Perfectly healthy except he had problems with identifying visual images
He could not recognize faces and had problems conceptualizing “big picture” of scenes
He could however recognize distinctive features such as mole or a person's jaw and teeth Dr. Sacks examined him and gave him a variety of tests such as showing him different shapes and pictures
He could easily see the Platonic solids for what they were, but he mistook a picture of the Sahara for a river!
When he took off his shoe he could not tell the difference between his shoe and his foot. Dr. Sacks inferred that he had a problem with his visual cortex in his occipital lobe
His visualization of schemata was perfectly fine, it was just his interpretation of faces and scenes that were impaired
His paintings reflected his gradual degradation with his earlier paintings being realistic and naturalistic to abstract and geometric Despite his visual losses, his musical abilities remained intact and allowed him to better accomplish everyday tasks. A woman referred to as Mrs. S suffers from a massive stroke resulting in damage to her right hemisphere.
After the stroke, she could no longer realize the existence of her left side. She could not turn to the left, and the whole concept of “left” died Whenever she was given food, she would eat the right half of it, then she would turn in her rotatable wheelchair in almost a full circle until she could see the rest of her food
Doctors tried to aid her by hooking up a video system that allowed her to see her left side, but she felt extremely uncomfortable and demanded that they take it away Cases such as this hold promise for helping patients that could benefit from video aids, but the matter is so confusing and complex that only more cases will tell for sure People with a aphasia, a problem with the left temporal lobe, could not distinguish precise words or meaning of dialogue. People with aphasia develop an extreme awareness to tone, expressions, and emotions
They were watching the President's speech, and they began laughing at him because they could tell that he was being dishonest and incongruent with his speech just by observing his gestures and tone Emily D., a person with tonal agnosia, had a problem with the right temporal lobe, and can not understand expressive parts of speech, only the words and prose
Just by listening to the President's syntax and diction, Emily thought that he had brain damage or was concealing something The normal people were the only ones fooled by the President; the people with brain disorders could recognize his fallacies Stephen D., a young medical student, formerly used PCP, cocaine, and amphetamines.
One night, after having stopped using the drugs, he encountered a vivid dream in which the world was filled with surprisingly poignant smells(he was a dog). He recognized a room of twenty people and could name them solely by their smell, without even looking at them.
After waking up, his sense of smell remained excellent, and even his visual perceptions had been enhanced following his strange dreaming. After three weeks, his heightened senses seemed to return to normal, relieving him, but making him long for the world he used to have.
His state is most likely a amphetamine-induced dopaminergic excitation causing a hyperosmia. Dr. Sacks also encountered another patient who had received brain trauma and had lost his sense of smell.
One day, he thought he smelled coffee and his pipe again, but tests show that there were no neurological activations as a result of his “smelling.” Dr. Sacks concluded that the man was able to evoke unconsciously the smells of these familiar objects as a sort of compensation for his loss of smell. Jose suffered from severe violent seizures and was said to be hopelessly retarded.
Dr. Sacks, following his introduction to Jose, asked him to draw a picture of his watch, which Jose did with surprising alacrity and clarity. More meetings were arranged, and Jose was able to draw a lake with a boat in it, and a fish, with both surprising accuracy and an added sense of personalization and creativity.
Jose, at the age of eight, suffered from some sort of encephalitis, and faced recurring and damaging seizures which damaged his temporal lobes, and rendered him mute. Many years later, Jose experienced a major outburst of violence that caused him to be taken into a real hospital, which allowed him access to powerful new drugs.
These drugs allowed Jose to be free of his seizures and convulsions. Jose was later moved to a secluded and isolated ward, where he was able to focus on his drawing as a means of therapy.
Dr. Sacks makes note of the inability of Jose to conceptualize abstract thoughts and ideas, but highlights his ease in the ability to express himself artistically through concrete objects. This book provided an excellent means to learn about brain disorders. It gave insight into the incredible feats and accomplishments of some of his brain damaged patients. We highly recommend this book because of the ease by which Dr. Sacks relates his tales, as well as the entertaining nature of the topics he details. Closing