Does a case from the 1940s of a man with no frontal lobe greatly impact what modern clinicians know about mental health treatment? When “old school” brain imaging found the patient now known as “JP” to be missing a severe amount of his frontal lobe, the neuropsychiatry case became the first of its kind in understanding how the physical components of the brain affect a patient’s psychiatric health.


Named in the 2018 article “Six Landmark Case Reports Essential for Neuropsychiatric Literacy,” by Sheldon Benjamin, MD, the study of JP became crucial to modern neuropsychiatric understanding of the frontal lobe’s function. 


On this episode of the Mind Dive podcast presented by The Menninger Clinic, Dr. Benjamin joins hosts Kerry Horrell, PhD, and Robert Boland, MD, to discuss his experience curating a collection of landmark cases in neuropsychiatry, now considered a valued resource in the field. 


“The reason this case is so important is that it shows, where we now have the brain pathology to back it up, that prefrontal damage can cause permanent, lasting personality change and certain cognitive changes without affecting others,” said Dr. Benjamin. “It transformed the understanding of the prefrontal cortex’s role in child development.” 


Dr. Benjamin has been awarded the UMass Chan Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Teaching and holds the American Neuropsychiatric Association’s Gary J. Tucker Lifetime Achievement Award in Neuropsychiatry.


Dr. Benjamin is a professor of psychiatry and neurology at the University of Massachusetts T.H. Chan School of Medicine, where he also serves as director of Neuropsychiatry and vice chair for Education. He also serves as a psychiatry director of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. 


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