Friday, 14 October 2011

Howard Hughes- Bizarre Billionaire

The story of one of the most prolific industrialists in the history of the United States is nothing short of bizarre. A concoction of endless years of drug-abuse, compulsive disorder and traumatic brain injury led to his downfall, literrally. Howard Hughes remained in the american public spotlight as a charismatic billionaire filmmaker and aviator, who later converged onto another psyche, a reclusive hermit. His tale of fame and fortune was stained with accounts of disordered behaviour and an unhealthy desire to fly. His death in 1976, revealed much finer details. Broken Needles, Bones and a poor standard of personal hygiene painted the picture of a individual, the product of neglect and abuse. My account of Hughes' life sparked numerous questions regarding both the onset and cause of such compulsive behaviour. Ironically, a series of isolated incidents throughout his life revealed evidence for Traumatic Brain Injury otherwise referred to as 'TBI', in which the  brain is exposed to brute force as a result of impact on a fixed object. Dissecting more intimately, numerous psychologists of various educational orientations have published their finds as to the root cause of obsessive compulsive disorder. TBI seems the ideal basis. Impact on regions of the human brain such as the pre-frontal cortex has the potential to profoundly change one's personality and mentality. Hughes, being a frequent aviator, experienced consistant encounters with TBI across accidents spanning years in frequency. It is however critical to add Hughes' repeated abuse of drugs such as tranquillisers with may have consolidated the effects of TBI. Surprisingly, their is always an anatomical and physiological basis for behaviour. Howard Hughes still remains etched in the vaults of history as a charismatic public figure but medically he remains a mere study for millions of medical students world wide.

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