10 facts about Lobotomy

(ORDO NEWS) — History remembers many barbaric practices in medicine, but the lobotomy is the most frightening. Today, this operation can only be seen in the movies, but in the middle of the last century, you could well be forced to have a lobotomy for your wayward character.

1. Lobotomy, or leucotomy , is an operation in which one of the lobes of the brain is separated from the rest of the areas, or completely excised. It was believed that this practice could treat schizophrenia.

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2. The method was developed by the Portuguese neurosurgeon Egas Moniz in 1935, and a trial lobotomy took place in 1936 under his supervision. After the first hundred operations, Moniz observed the patients and made a subjective conclusion about the success of his development: the patients calmed down and became surprisingly submissive.

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3. The results of the first 20 operations were as follows: 7 patients recovered, 7 patients showed improvement, and 6 people remained with the same illness. But the lobotomy continued to cause disapproval: many of Moniz’s contemporaries wrote that the actual result of such an operation was the degradation of the personality.

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4. The Nobel Committee considered the lobotomy a discovery that is ahead of its time. Egas Moniz received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1949. Subsequently, the relatives of some patients requested that the award be canceled, since the lobotomy causes irreparable harm to the health of the patient and is generally a barbaric practice. But the request was rejected.

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5. If Egas Moniz argued that leucotomy is a last resort, then Dr. Walter Freeman considered lobotomy a remedy for all problems, including willfulness and aggressive character. He believed that the lobotomy eliminates the emotional component and thereby “improves the behavior” of patients. It was Freeman who coined the term “lobotomy” in 1945. Throughout his life, he operated on about 3,000 people . By the way, this doctor was not a surgeon.

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6. Freeman once used an ice pick from his kitchen for an operation. Such a “necessity” arose because the former instrument, the leukote, could not withstand the load and broke in the patient’s skull.

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7. Subsequently, Freeman realized that an ice pick is great for lobotomy . Therefore, the doctor designed a new medical instrument based on this model. The orbitoclast had a pointed end on one side and a handle on the other. The point was marked with divisions to control the depth of penetration.

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8. By the middle of the last century, lobotomy had become an incredibly popular procedure : it was practiced in the UK, Japan, the USA and many European countries. In the US alone, about 5,000 surgeries were performed per year.

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9. In the USSR, a new method of treatment was used relatively rarely, but it was improved. The Soviet neurosurgeon Boris Grigoryevich Egorov proposed the use of osteoplastic trepanation instead of access through the orbit. Egorov explained that trepanation would allow more accurate orientation in determining the area of ​​surgical intervention.

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10. Lobotomy was practiced in the USSR for 5 years, but was banned at the end of 1950. It is generally accepted that the decision was dictated by ideological considerations , because this method is most widely used in the United States. By the way, in America, lobotomy continued to be practiced until the 70s. However, there is also an opposite point of view: the ban on lobotomy in the USSR was due to the lack of scientific data and, in general, the dubiousness of the method.

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