Michael Paul Mason is one of an elite group of neurological experts who appear in the wake of tragic accidents and illnesses and coordinate care that can last a lifetime. In Head Cases, Mason writes about his encounters with 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 shares a series of vivid glimpses into brain science, the last frontier of medicine. With personal stories as well as clearly written science, he shows the miracles of the brain's workings and 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.
Stories of Brain Injury and Its Aftermath
Michael Paul Mason