Knitting (Phineas) Gage

About the Artwork

A fiber-art representation of Phineas Gage’s famous skull and tamping rod. Phineas P. Gage was an American railroad construction foreman remembered for his improbable survival of an accident when he was twenty-five years old. A large iron rod was driven completely through his skull, landing several yards away. The accident destroyed much of his brain’s left frontal lobe. Changes in his personality and behavior after the injury helped scientists to better understand brain localization.

“Utilizing knitting and crocheting techniques, I rendered a model of both the skull and the tamping rod based on photos of the skull, estimated reconstruction of the damage and descriptions of the tamping rod. Phineas Gage has long fascinated many people, both inside and outside of medicine, and I hope that this work will serve to generate continued interest and education.”

Lealani Mae Acosta is an assistant professor of neurology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. Her clinical care, research in cognitive and behavioral neurology, and love for knitting and creative writing blend both the art and the science of medicine. She has published poetry, prose and visual arts in peer-reviewed venues.


8 thoughts on “Knitting (Phineas) Gage”

  1. This is an admirable work of art. It conveys the essence of Phineas Gage’s story in an unusual manner. It will also bring alive the accident by the tamping rod, the consequences of damage to the dominant frontal lobe and other facts to the notice of a wide audience.

    I salute Dr. Acosta.

    1. Thank you for your kind words! Those who know the story recognize it immediately. Those who don’t are captivated by the tale!

      1. His world definitely changed after his accident, as did our understanding of brain-behavior relationships.

    1. Thank you! It always prompts much discussion and education when I wear it around the hospital. People are always fascinated by his story!

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