You save lives. Happy patients write thank you letters and you get to see young patients grow up. Numerous neurosurgeons actually cover their walls with their thank you cards. The glory is also in discovering new treatments for life-threatening diseases like glioblastoma, which killed U.S Sen. Edward Kennedy. The survival rate for glioblastoma of the brain is 1%. Cancer specialists and neurosurgeons have started testing a new brain cancer vaccine that helps the body attack the disease. If Phase III is successful the FDA could approve the drug in four years. Talk about glory.
Neurosurgeons also discover strange diseases or brain disorders.
Astasia: Abasia or Blocq’s Disease: This disease prevents people from walking or standing straight. People with this disease look as if they’ve been hitting the bottle.
Broca’s Aphasia: People with Broca’s Aphasia are unable to form coherent words even though they can read, write and understand people. This disease is caused by an injury to the Broca’s area of the brain. One famous case involved a man who repeated “Tono tono tono tono” to every question. He was very rarely right.
Verbal dysdecorum: This disorder is characterized by the inability to censor yourself due to a brain injury. People who have this brain malfunction often find it difficult to hold down a job. Many others don’t have anywhere near as good an excuse.
Anhedonia: A patient with Anhedonia has damage to their globus pallidus, which prevents them from finding pleasure in anything. Recovering drug addicts are the most common sufferers of this disorder.
Nominal aphasia: This condition is one in which a person has problems recalling names or words. Everyone forgets words from time to time, but aphasia patients have damage in their Broca’s area, which prevents them from naming objects like oranges. Which can be very frustrating, especially when you’re hungry for an orange.