Off topic: Mind Hacks: not your first choice of painkiller
Thread poster: Vito Smolej

Vito Smolej
Local time: 15:55
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
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Sep 11, 2009

Quoting from Mind hacks (more like Brain hacks this time):

I've just found this alarming case study [pdf] from the Singapore Medical Journal about a patient who had a nail banged into their head by a local healer in an attempt to treat persistent headaches.

Craniocerebral penetrating wounds caused by nails are rare and reported as curious experiences. A 45-year-old female patient presented with a metal nail in situ in the middle of her head, very close to the right side of the midline. The patient had been unconscious since the time of injury. There was no history of vomiting or seizures. Neurologically, the eye opening and verbal response were nil, but she was localised to the pain and moved all four limbs equally. The pupils were bilaterally symmetrical and reactive to light. General and systemic examinations were unremarkable.

The relatives revealed that she had been suffering from a headache (more on the right side) for the last ten years, with off and on exacerbation. They took the patient to a Tantrik, who hammered the nail into her head to get rid of the bad omen. Anteroposterior and lateral radiographs of the skull showed a foreign object inside the skull, very near to the midline. As there were no facilities to perform computed tomography (CT) in the peripheral hospital, the nail was removed under local anaesthesia, based on the radiographical findings. After the removal of the nail, she was managed conservatively and made a gradual recovery in her sensorium. The patient was doing well at follow-up.

PS: Oh by the way, when you bang your head against the wall, watch for nails...


Terry Richards
Local time: 15:55
French to English
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But what about her headache? Sep 11, 2009

Did the nail cure it?


Goran Tasic  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:55
English to Serbian
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It sure did! Sep 11, 2009

Terry Richards wrote:

Did the nail cure it?

It sure did!icon_smile.gif I mean, if you have a headache, the best way to cure it is to hit your small finger with a hammer and you'll forget about your headache instantly.icon_smile.gif


John Farebrother  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
French to English
+ ...
Life and limb Sep 11, 2009


It sure did!icon_smile.gif I mean, if you have a headache, the best way to cure it is to hit your small finger with a hammer and you'll forget about your headache instantly.icon_smile.gif [/quote]

But you wouldn't hit your little finger with a hammer if it hurt to make the pain go away.
I usually take aspirin when I have a headache anyway, rather than a hammer (with or without a nail).

[Edited at 2009-09-11 14:27 GMT]


ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:55
English to French
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Trepanation Sep 11, 2009

This ancient medical procedure is called trepanation. I remember my father had a book about this when I was a kid--it was one of those books I always avoided in the bookshelf... Holes were practiced in the patient's cranium to relieve headaches, epilepsy and other intracranial problems.

Read about it here:


Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:55
+ ...
Technically... Sep 11, 2009

a bullet through the head can also get rid of most headaches. This guy should, at least, be a Darwin Award nominee.


Vito Smolej
Local time: 15:55
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
In 1848, railroad worker Phineas Gage ... Sep 11, 2009

...was in an explosives accident that drove an iron rod through his frontal lobe.[107] Previously a restrained, capable man, Gage reportedly underwent a dramatic personality change after the injury, becoming childish, vulgar, inappropriate and impulsive,[106] and his case is often cited as having given insight into the critical role played by the frontal lobe in personality and behavior, and advancing the understanding of the relationship between brain and mind.[108] However, while Gage undoubtedly stimulated discussion of these topics for many decades, even today both popular and scientific accounts routinely exaggerate the nature and severity of the changes in Gage, relative to the very small amount of reliable evidence available.

see more under:

PS: on the use of a drill in the above context: PI, by Daren Aronofsky, best-director award at Sundance 1998

PPS: BBcode for images seems to be broken. Cut and paste the URL above, or go to wikipedia page to see the daguerrotype of Phineas P. Gage with his story.

[Edited at 2009-09-12 07:50 GMT]


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