Daily Archives: September 1, 2006

Aerate Your Brain

I was doing research on the ways to ease swelling of the brain after a skull fracture for my current work-in-progress when I happened on this site about voluntary trepanation (beware: very graphic images).

It turns out there’s a… hmm… philosophical movement that thinks that removing a piece of bone in the head (usually where the fontanelle hardened into bone, or at the spot of the mysterious “third eye”, and covering the hole back with a flap of skin) increases blood flow to the brain:

“As a result, trepanners say, you’ll be happier, more energetic and less prone to crippling bouts of ennui. You’ll ascend to the child’s plane of acute consciousness from which you disembarked to enter the lowly malaise of adulthood.” The Trepanation Guide

Are they nuts? Who would consciously expose his or her brain to injury, infection, and potential damage? And what kind of quack would do that when there’s absolutely no need for it?

There’s a reason why we have a solid box over our grey matter: it’s fragile, easily damaged. At least, an interview by Salon Magazine in 1999 indicates that most surgeons won’t perform voluntary trepanation:

The doctors and scientists interviewed by Salon […] described trepanation as “quackery,” “buncombe,” “horseshit,” “absolute, unequivocal bullshit” and “dangerous.” According to Dr. Robert Daroff, a professor of neurology, “This is a crackpot notion that’s not worthy of my time. And not only that — it’s dangerous. You expose your precious brain, you remove God’s covering, there’s a risk of infection and all sorts of other problems.” rotten.com

Well, that relieves my mind.

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