DOTmed Home MRI Oncology Ultrasound Molecular Imaging X-Ray Cardiology Health IT Business Affairs
News Home Parts & Service Operating Room CT Women's Health Proton Therapy Endoscopy HTMs Mobile Imaging
Current Location:
> This Story

Log in or Register to rate this News Story
Forward Printable StoryPrint Comment



More This Month in Medical History

We all bleed the same color – the legacy of Dr. Charles Richard Drew Get to know the 'Father of the Blood Bank'

This month in medical history: Handing epidemics Dr. John Snow and the origins of epidemiology

Louis Braille - The world’s knowledge at his fingertips The life of a man who brought reading to the blind

The first (and only) female Medal of Honor winner How a doctor turned Civil War spy left her mark in history

Jonas Salk’s gift to the world Polio was a scourge, his education matched well with what was needed to find a cure

See All This Month in Medical History  

More Voices

When it comes to MR safety, make sure the right hearing protection doesn’t fall on deaf ears Understanding the dangers of ear damage during scans, and what can be done about it

The promise of AI (part 2 of 2) Dr. Luciano Prevedello shares insight he’s gained through the AI lab his radiology department created

IAMERS 14th Annual European Meeting and my observations The Jacobus Report

Dr. David Hirschorn on NYMIIS 2018 Imaging informatics takes center stage again at the New York symposium

Q&A with Mark Kimball, CEO of Erlanger Murphy Medical Center Bringing healthcare access and more primary care physicians to Murphy, North Carolina

Ronnie Taylor (and people like him) make America great The Jacobus Report

Let me pick your brain: the history of prefrontal lobotomy

by Nancy Ryerson , Staff Writer
From the November 2013 issue of DOTmed HealthCare Business News magazine

Today, most people would agree with the joke “I’d rather have a free bottle in front of me than a prefrontal lobotomy.” But for more than half a century, a lobotomy was no laughing matter and a somewhat common method of treating mental illness as well as other ailments like back pain, despite its tendency to cause permanent damage.

The first documented treatment was performed on Nov. 12, 1935 in Lisbon by Portuguese neurologist Antonio Egas Moniz. He called it leucotomy, from the Greek for “cutting white” because it targeted the brain’s connective white matter. With leucotomy, Moniz attempted to alter a patient’s behavior by drilling two holes in the skull and injecting pure alcohol into the frontal lobes of the brain to destroy the connective tissue. The treatment was based on research going back to the 19th century that found a link between the frontal lobes and behavior. For example, patients who had brain tumors removed from the frontal lobes experienced reduced mental health symptoms, at least according to the medical literature of the time.

Story Continues Below Advertisement

Source-Ray, Inc. - Innovations In Portable X-Ray

SRI is a leading Developer, Manufacturer & Supplier of Innovative Portable Imaging Equipment. We offer Lightweight, Agile, Easy to Maneuver Portable X-Ray Systems ideal for maneuvering in tight spaces. Call us at 631-244-8200

Moniz considered the procedure on his first patient, diagnosed with depression, to be a success, though she never left the hospital where the surgery was performed. Moniz treated his next seven patients in a similar way, using a surgical tool instead of alcohol to make the disconnection in his ninth patient.

American neurologist, Walter Freeman, met Moniz at a London neurology conference and was inspired by his work. On September 14, 1936, the procedure arrived in the United States. Along with his partner, neurosurgeon, James Watts, Freeman began performing what he called prefrontal lobotomy by surgically snipping the nerves connecting the prefrontal cortex to the hypothalamus. Later, Freeman would modify the procedure and insert an ice pick-like tool through the eye socket and into the brain with only the use of local anesthesia, a method Watts did not approve of. He eventually distanced himself from Freeman.

Freeman believed that cutting nerves in the brain would calm the patient and eliminate extreme emotions, a result he sometimes got. Overall, results were mixed; while some patients felt cured, others were reduced to a vegetative state.

Still, around 50,000 people in the United States received lobotomies, the majority of them between 1949 and 1952. Although lobotomies were criticized in scientific literature as early as the 1940s, they rose in popularity despite their dubious results in part because of a lack of alternative treatment for mental disorders. Moniz even won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1949 for his work.
  Pages: 1 - 2 >>


You Must Be Logged In To Post A Comment

Increase Your
Brand Awareness
Auctions + Private Sales
Get The
Best Price
Buy Equipment/Parts
Find The
Lowest Price
Daily News
Read The
Latest News
Browse All
DOTmed Users
Ethics on DOTmed
View Our
Ethics Program
Gold Parts Vendor Program
Receive PH
Gold Service Dealer Program
Receive RFP/PS
Healthcare Providers
See all
HCP Tools
A Job
Parts Hunter +EasyPay
Get Parts
Recently Certified
View Recently
Certified Users
Recently Rated
View Recently
Certified Users
Rental Central
Rent Equipment
For Less
Sell Equipment/Parts
Get The
Most Money
Service Technicians Forum
Find Help
And Advice
Simple RFP
Get Equipment
Virtual Trade Show
Find Service
For Equipment
Access and use of this site is subject to the terms and conditions of our LEGAL NOTICE & PRIVACY NOTICE
Property of and Proprietary to, Inc. Copyright ©2001-2018, Inc.