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Bogen Cards (PDF) - from Cal Tech


From the Associated Press:

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) - Dr. Joseph E. Bogen, a neurosurgeon whose efforts to control epileptic seizures helped pave the way for research on the unique identities of the right and left sides of the brain, has died at age 78.

Bogen died April 22 at Huntington Memorial Hospital after a long illness.

His work has been credited with playing a key role in the development of the split-brain experiments that ultimately won Roger Sperry of the California Institute of Technology a Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 1981.

The two sides of the brain are connected by a bundle of more than 200 million nerve fibers, called the corpus callosum, that allows each side to communicate with the other.

In people with severe epilepsy, the corpus callosum can also act as a conduit by which a seizure originating on one side can overwhelm the entire brain.

In the early 1960s, Bogen and Dr. Philip Vogel developed a surgery in which they severed the nerve fibers of the corpus callosum in order to contain a seizure to just one side.

Bogen, who knew Sperry had performed similar operations on animals, suggested he study his patients. Together, the two determined that each side of the brain had independent capabilities and consciousness.

In recent years, Bogen was attempting to pinpoint the area of the brain where consciousness is located. He had concluded it was to be found in the intralaminar nucleus of the thalamus gland and was preparing a book on his findings when he died.

Bogen had received his medical degree from the University of Southern California and was neurological surgery professor there. He was also a visiting biology professor at Caltech and adjunct professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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