"A POWERFULLY WRITTEN BOOK . . . HEAD CASES SOUNDS AN ALARM BELL FOR OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM."
Head Cases takes us into the dark side of the brain in an astonishing
sequence of stories, at once true and strange,
from the world of brain injury.
Michael Paul Mason is one of an elite group of experts who
appear in the wake of tragic accidents and coordinate care that
can last a lifetime. On the road with Mason, we encounter survivors
of brain injuries as they struggle to map and make sense
of the new worlds they inhabit. We meet a snowboarder whose
life became permanently surreal after an errant jump; an "ultraviolent"
child who has lost the brain's instinctive check on the
impulse to strike out at others; a young man who cannot cry; and
an Iraq war veteran whose odd maladies suggest that brain injury
will be the war's most conspicuous legacy.
Underlying each of their stories is an exploration into the
brain and its mysteries. When injured, the brain must figure out
how to heal itself, reorganizing its physiology in order to do the
job, and Mason gives us a series of vivid glimpses into brain science,
the last frontier of medicine. We come away in awe of the
miracles of the brain's workings and astonished at the fragility
of the brain and the sense of self, life, and order that resides
there. Head Cases echoes both Oliver Sacks and Raymond Carver,
and is at once illuminating and deeply affecting.