July 13, 2011 |
An excised portion of a killer's brain could reveal whether he had a terminal disease when he attacked a family in its Douglass Township home this month. The Delaware County Medical Examiner's Office said Wednesday that it had removed Mark Geisenheyner's pituitary gland during an autopsy and sent it for testing. The move came days after reports emerged that the Pottstown man had told several people that inoperable tumors had been diagnosed shortly before his rampage. Geisenheyner, 51, died July 4 in a standoff with police in Trainer, two days after he opened fire on a family in its Montgomery County vacation home.
October 26, 1993 |
They wouldn't let her see her son's body at the morgue, so Doris Jackson went to the funeral home. That's when she found out that someone had taken the brain from the body of her 26-year-old son. Now, more than two years later, she and her lawyer are still trying to find out where the brain is and why it was removed. "I still have nightmares," Jackson said in a recent interview. She also has a lot of questions. The case of Thomas Seabron is now unfolding in a lawsuit in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court.
September 9, 1996 |
You are cruising along when, suddenly, another driver pulls alongside. His face is red. He is shouting curses you can't hear because your windows are closed. He alternately pumps his fist at you and makes obscene gestures. He swerves as if to hit you, then speeds away, his tires squealing. A teenage boy gets word that his SAT scores put him in the upper 1 percent of those who took the exam. A young woman commits suicide. Seemingly unrelated events. And yet, the driver's exaggerated reaction to your failure to signal a lane change, the teenager's intellectual success, the young woman's death have one thing in common: They are the handiwork of neurotransmitters, messenger substances that course through every millimeter of the brain.
June 16, 1994 |
When Margaret Zucoski left her home in the 3100 block of Wellington Street one afternoon in December 1990, she had no idea that such an ordinary day would bring tragedy - and years later a startling revelation. Sometime after she walked off, her 82-year-old husband, Joseph, went up on the roof of their home, apparently to fix a television antenna that had come loose. He lost his balance or slipped, and fell to the ground. A neighbor saw him and called an ambulance. Doctors tried to revive her husband, Zucoski remembers, but the fall proved fatal.
February 18, 2007 |
Linda Suter knew something was wrong. Her boss, Moira Shaughnessy, 36, a take-charge Main Line executive, hadn't shown up for work in Ardmore the morning of Jan. 2. Worse, the gregarious Shaughnessy wasn't making sense over the phone. "I kept asking her, 'Where are you? Are you OK?' " Suter said, "and she would answer me with 'Are you OK?' " in an odd, girlish voice. Alarmed, Suter summoned family members, who rushed Shaughnessy to a hospital where alert physicians diagnosed viral encephalitis, a rare, often fatal disease that causes acute brain swelling.
December 1, 1993 |
Except for the dim light from the hallway, the room is dark. From down the hall comes the drone of a distant television, punctuated occasionally by the cries of a patient in distress. It is the night before Thanksgiving, the day when families gather together to give thanks for their health and happiness. In the hospital, it is unusually quiet. I had arrived in the room - the room of a longtime friend - an hour earlier, against my better judgment. Like other gay men during the past decade, I have come to loathe hospitals.
August 4, 2008 |
Neurosurgeon Ben Warf is trying to change fifty years of surgical practice one patient at a time. He opens a small hole in the brain of Naphtalie Bazile, a 10-month-old Haitian girl, and is about to use his novel technique to relieve her massively swollen head, caused by water on the brain - or hydrocephalus. The standard treatment - installing a shunt, a drainage tube running from the brain under the skin to the abdomen - is fraught with malfunctions and infections. Warf believes he has found a better way: after guiding a thin, flexible surgical instrument into her brain, he seals up tissue that produces some of the excess fluid.
December 1, 1997 |
Vision is a mystery. The way the eye focuses light is simple and understandable. But scientists are just beginning to probe what happens after that in the dark recesses of the brain, where streams of data flowing from the optic nerve are transformed into a picture of the world. Some clues to the process come from artists, who with just a few simple lines or brush strokes can suggest a face, a body, branches or flowing waves. In an attempt to represent nature, artists are in fact taking advantage of the brain's pattern-recognition ability.
February 26, 2006 |
Bob Moore's brain lay on a white plastic cutting board. There was something beautiful about its convoluted hills and valleys, the way rivers of dusky purple and red meandered through the beige flesh. And mysterious. Here was the essence of a man who had gone to Yale, loved a woman, fathered six children, relished ice cream and Mozart and Kierkegaard and e.e. cummings, favored questions over answers and change over complacency, hated camping, loathed golf, and, over the last 20 years, had slowly lost the capacity to understand any of it. He had died that morning in a Wilmington nursing home, years past being able to feed himself or walk or recognize the woman he had married 56 years before.
December 2, 1996 |
"The greatest evil is physical pain. " - St. Augustine Thanks to new tools and techniques, scientists are beginning to unravel the mystery of pain - why such a terrible thing exists and what can be done to relieve it. Using modern electronic scanning devices, they can watch individual nerve cells, or neurons, in the living brains of people and animals react to painful stimuli. As they gain understanding, they hope to discover ways to prevent, control or end unnecessary or excessive pain.