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The Lost SelfPathologies of the Brain and Identity$
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Todd E. Feinberg and Julian Paul Keenan

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195173413

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195173413.001.0001

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The Enduring Self: A First-Person Account of Brain Insult Survival

The Enduring Self: A First-Person Account of Brain Insult Survival

(p.251) 17 The Enduring Self: A First-Person Account of Brain Insult Survival
The Lost Self


Oxford University Press

In this chapter world-renowned sleep and dreaming researcher J. Allan Hobson provides a harrowing yet moving personal perspective on his own “journey of the self.” In February of 2001, Dr. Hobson suffered a brain stem stroke. Approximately 5 months after partial recovery from this first neurological insult, due to the combined effects of pneumonia, cardiac failure, and adverse drug reactions, Hobson went into a hallucinatory delirium. His description of this period is simultaneously fascinating and frightening and provides a marvelous window into the manner in which the mind and self can be transformed by the brain's metabolic milieu. Upon reflection Hobson concludes that in spite of his mental transformation during the time of his illness, the nature of his experiences and his ability to describe and understand them speaks to the resilience and durability of the self in the face of the ravages of neurological illness.

Keywords:   neurological insult, brain stem stroke, self, J. Allan Hobson, hallucinatory delirium

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