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The Variables Change for One Incredible Human Life

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A man with an I.Q. of 70 had his world turned around when an operation lifted his I.Q. to 180 over the course of roughly three months. Charlie Gordon, a man of 33 years, has lived with an intellectual disability for the duration of his life. Working at Donner’s Bakery and attending the Beekman School for Retarded Adults, Gordon, who is filled with a motivation to learn, was mentored by Professor Nemur and Dr. Strauss. And with one operation, they have made him a genius.

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Charlie Gordon has remained innocent all his life with no memories of his past or any ability to retain more than a certain level of knowledge, which he continually tries to exceed to no avail with the help of Alice Kinnian, his teacher.
The operation, according to Charlie Gordon, was painless; however, left him with bandages covering his head and eyes for three days with no immediately recognizable results.

Said by Charlie, “If you are smart you can have lots of friends to talk to and you never get lonely by yourself all the time,” but for Charile loneliness seems to be destined. Because the results of the operation did not take effect instantly Gordon was admittedly frustrated.

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Professor Nemur, a large part of this procedure, explained that what caused the type of phenylketonuria Gordon suffered from was unknown. Although whatever generated it, resulted in a defective gene which produced a ‘maverick enzyme’ that created defective biochemical reactions. This culminated in irreversible destruction of proteins in the brain tissue.


While Nemur stated the destruction to the brain tissue was irreversible, the process was not, which made this operation achievable. Researchers have been able to reverse the process through injections of chemicals which combine with the defective enzymes, changing the molecular shape of the interfering defective genes. This was central to the technique of Gordon’s surgery as well; however, for Gordon, damaged portions of the brain were removed. And this permitted the implantation of brain tissue that was chemically revitalized to produce brain proteins.
Algernon, a white mouse, also went under this procedure and Charlie Gordon’s first realization of his increasing intellectual ability after the surgery was winning when testing against this mouse. In previous tests he had been discouraged by his reactions.
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Over the past three months Charlie’s experience has been recorded through progress reports, and from these alone, readers are able to see the drastic changes in Gordon’s intellectual abilities.
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Now, Charlie explains his troubled past and the memories that have come flooding back to him with his sudden intellect. Struggling between the balance of intellect and emotion Gordon fights to understand who he is and learn to trust himself.
“Having intelligence and knowledge wasn’t enough. I wanted this, too. The sense of release and looseness was strong now with the feeling that it was possible,” he says as he explains his need for a life he never knew he could have, until recently.

At a convention in Chicago, Gordon expresses how people came up and asked his opinion on everything, from the effects of the new tax to the latest archaeological discoveries in Finland, and his new storehouse of energy made it easy for him to talk about anything.

Gordon battles to find his identity and pursue the life he can now have with his knowledge. However, his loneliness persists as his intellectual ability surpasses those of the people around him and he grows distant from the world yet again. Even after this miracle operation the question of whether or not the effects will be permanent looms above Charlie Gordon, and those who support him, ready to wrench an inimitable event away from many.