Posted: Monday, November 12, 2012 11:54:25 PM
In my lifetime, I have read many incredible novels that range from short memorable tales to long inspiring works of fiction. However, Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind, written by V.S. Ramachandran, had the longest lasting effect on me personally.
Phantoms in the Brain explores various medical mysteries involving the brain throughout the past couple of centuries. Ramachandran thoroughly investigates topics varying from such things like phantom limbs, neglect syndrome, blind sight and Capgras’ syndrome. Still new and innocent, my mind was immediately drawn to the incredible medical cases described in the book. Phantoms in the Brain gave me a new view of the human body and a newfound interest in neuroscience. Some of the factors that caused me to become so inspired from this book were all of the experiments that could be performed at the leisure of my home. Ramachandran proposes multiple simple experiments that aid in the understanding of his complex hypotheses. These small exercises were fascinating and excellently represent the mysterious nature of the brain. Ramachandran also inputs many of his own speculations onto the various medical mysteries described in the novel. I enjoyed the in-depth analysis of an actual neurologist and found it very humanizing after noticing Ramachandran’s respect for his patients and for the patients of the medical cases. Throughout the book, there is always an awareness that the scientific mysteries to him are at the same time a personal tragedy to the patient. All of these aspects have led me to find a fascination with neurology and medicine.
In the end, Phantoms in the Brain has caused me to pursue a career in medicine and neuroscience. While many are unsure about their future careers and what they want to accomplish, I am almost positive that I will find myself somewhere exploring the mysteries of the brain just as Ramachandran does in his book.