The brain: a secret history. Part 3, Broken brains.

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Also known as

Into the Mind


The last in a three-part series in which Michael Mosley explores the history of experimental psychology. This part focuses on how experiments on abnormal brains have revealed the workings of the normal brain. We meet Angela, a 45-year-old who has been suffering from severe, repeated epileptic seizures. She is having surgery to remove the damaged part of her temporal lobe. We hear about Paul Broca's discovery of a damaged language centre in a patient's brain in the mid-19th century. This is thought to be the start of modern neuroscience. We meet Julia who is unable to name things after suffering a stroke. Cathy Price studies her brain to see where her language centres have been damaged. Henry Molaison was hit by a bicycle when he was seven years old and suffered brain damage which led to severe epilepsy. A local surgeon performed a lobotomy on him, removing his entire hippocampus. He could no longer form any new memories - the most perfect amnesiac had been created. Elizabeth Kensinger is one of the last few neuroscientists of thousands to visit Henry. She describes her research and Mosley views some specimens of Henry's brain in the office of Jacobo Annese who is working in minute detail on the neurones associated with memory. Mosley revisits the experiments of Roger Sperry looking at the right and left hemispheres of the brain. We meet Karen who had brain surgery to control her epileptic seizures - as a result her left hand developed a mind of its own - a rare condition known as alien hand syndrome.


London : BBC4, 2010.

Physical description

1 DVD (60 min.) : sound, color, PAL

Copyright note



Broadcast on 20 January, 2011

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