Lobotomy: a Contemporary View

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Today, many people are helped by drugs designed to help depression, anxiety and more serious mental illnesses such as bi-polar disorder. With everything our society knows about how well these drugs seem to work, it is preposterous that at one time in history an invasive surgery such as the lobotomy would be just as comparably popular.

Lobotomy was designed to sever the nerves that lead from the rest of the brain to the prefrontal lobe. The prefrontal lobe is concerned with emotion, memory, learning and social behavior. So it is no surprise that when nerves that lead to this portion of your brain are severed "patients" report being dull, apathetic, listless, childlike and docile.

Christine Johnson created a website, psychosurgury.org, to unite people who are victims of lobotomy, either directly or indirectly. Johnson's grandmother had been lobodomized in 1954. Members of psychosurgury.org believe that the Nobel Prize, given to Egaz Moniz, for the barbaric procedure should be revoked. The Nobel Foundation states that there is no possibility of revoking it—claiming that the procedure was revolutionary for its time. Furthermore, the Foundation states that there is no provisions for appeal of a prize previously awarded.

Walter Freeman, excited by the work of Egaz Moniz, practiced lobotomies on brains from a hospital morgue. The technique of entering the frontal lobes through the eye sockets was not yet vogue. Instead, on his first patient, Freeman drilled six holes into the top of a 68 year-old's skull. Many of the lobotomies were performed on patients of hospitals for the mentally ill. Hospital staff and others did not seem to object to the operations despite the fact that the results were often disappointing. The reality was that many patients ended up being a lot less difficult after the operation. The listlessness and non-combativeness were a lot easier to deal with than frequent violent outbursts. Lobotomy was preferred to talk therapy or...
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