The spectral images, reproduced in neurosurgery journals and textbooks, could be captioned "Beauty and the Beast."
Captured by X-ray and CT scan, the human brain is pierced by a bullet, nail, pool cue or chunk of razor-sharp debris. The intruding object has ripped a jagged vortex of destruction through the brain's gelatinous lobes and forged an even wider path of quivering shock.
If the projectile came in hard and fast, shards of broken skull will be scattered through the delicate tissue. The bullet might have ricocheted off bone and tumbled wildly in the cavity, bursting blood vessels and carving uneven holes where, only moments before, healthy brain cells had hummed.