Oliver same concept to form the case studies

Oliver
Sacks’ book “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat”, has four sections, each
dealing with a series of brief case studies focusing on several neurology
aspects, the field of science that exams the nervous system.

In
part one, Sacks discusses neurological disorders that can be perceived as
deficits in a normally functioning brain. He begins by discussing deficit not
utterly as a scientific theory or phenomenon which can be established and
measured, but rather as an example or an alternative way of perceiving
dissimilar scientific wonders. Although he argues that the medical community has
a tendency on defining almost all the neurological syndromes as some kind of
deficits, since neurologists and scientists who examine the nervous system,
have developed a convenient way of organizing and categorizing their thoughts
and remarks by using this notion; he will use the same concept to form the case
studies in the first part of his book. However, Sacks claims that the model of
mental illness as a deficit is not all-encompassing, first of all, because it
excludes disorders of the right hemisphere of the brain, which can’t easily be
defined as a deficit in a precise brain function, and second of all, because
the model underestimates the subject’s abilities to find ways of making up for
mental illness and for the “deficit”.

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In
this section, Sacks researches brain disorders that could be identified as
types of deficits, but which due to the fact that they belong to the
right-hemisphere of the brain, have not been thoroughly studied by the
neurological community. Also, he hints to the important idea of equalization,
which in simple words is, the concept that patients with neurological
deficiencies find ways to compensate for their difficulties and adapt to the
new circumstances, a principle which is important, because it rectifies the
tendency to perceive mental illness as static and unchanging.

The
patients described during the first part of the book include, Dr. P. who
suffers from a rare form of face blindness, that does not allow him to
translate what he sees into holistic pictures, which as a result confuses his
visual input; Jimmie G., who has Korsakov’s Syndrome, meaning that he cannot
retain memories more than a few seconds; Christina, who loses her
proprioception, meaning that she can not feel her own body; Madeline J., who
has cerebral palsy and claims that she is not able to control her own hands;
Mr. MacGregor, who walks with a tilt due to Parkinson’s decease, that is preventing
his mind from receiving information  from
the vestibular system; and Mrs. S. who lost the ability to comprehend  of left after suffering a stroke.

Throughout
part one, Sacks will often be more concerned with showing how his patients
adapt to their conditions, than offering precise diagnoses. He aims on showing
how patients find ways of dealing with their shortcomings, whether in a
conscious or unconscious spectrum. It seems that his goal isn’t simply to
determine what is wrong with his patients, but also to get a sense of their
life perspectives without exploiting their dignity, and that is why he
emphasizes in conducting conversations with them, in order to be able to
approach them more humanly than scientifically. With
Sacks’ help, Christina, Mr. MacGregor, Mrs. S., and Madeline J. train
themselves on how to cope with their neurological problems, so that they can
have a rather normal life. However, the means he used to achieve that goal are
quite contradictory, since his approach was mainly focusing on allowing people
to integrate into society, instead of focusing on them as patients.

Having
read the first part of Sacks’ book, it can be said that, the reason he
published those stories was in an attempt to make the public aware of the
struggles that people with neurological illnesses face. Although these are case
studies, meaning that they can not be generalized, he managed to present to the
public how those people see the world and live their everyday lives, by
approaching their conditions, aspirations and needs from a humane perspective
rather than scientific. A rather interesting fact is, that in his book non-invasive
approaches are been introduced, concerning how an individual that suffers from
a neurological condition, may overcome the obstacles of his illness, by relying
on his functioning senses and regain the opportunity to live a relatively
normal life.