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The History Of Lobotomy

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Science is not just about math and inventions because everything about it is complicated. It is a bit dicey. Sometimes, people discover and experiment on things without the possibility of getting the same result. It is like creating things and using them differently. Everything is a bit benign, and science can either be good or bad. And sometimes, individuals learn stuff from their scientific endeavor that leads them to the most erroneous conclusion and application. One better example of this madness that entirely changed the way science gets perceived is the process of lobotomy.

It was in the 21st century when a Portuguese physician Antonio Moniz introduced the process of lobotomy. For a lot of people in his era, the whole thing about lobotomy is remarkable and effective in treating different types of mental conditions. After winning a Nobel Prize, surgeons, neuroscientists, and physicians across the world welcomed and began adopting its method and continue administering it to mentally ill patients.  However, lobotomy might have been the best way to treat mental illness at that time, but the truth doesn’t lie. Irrevocably, it is destructive and far worse than inhumane. And yet, Moniz received a Nobel Prize in the history of medicine for the destructive mental health approach.

How It All Started

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What made lobotomy controversial way back was its few knowledge and studies that do not support strong evidence when it comes to brain functions. At that time, the process only relies on a few scenarios and records of few brain injuries. It does not hold a foundation of specifically knowing what is happening in the human brain. But not until the case of Phineas Gage come in hand. He was a railroad worker that experienced an accidental explosion where a railroad spike got stuck in his head. The spike stabbed in Phineas frontal lobe, but amazingly, he survived. However, after a few months of recovery, people noticed the changes in his personality. His friends and family then complain about him becoming mean and aggressive. That is because the part of his frontal lobe that damaged by the spike is the orbitofrontal cortex. It is the one responsible for handling and controlling emotions.

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Before it gets called as lobotomy, it was John Fulton who began the process of cutting out chimpanzees’ section of brains to know how it will affect their behavior. It was then when he noticed that the chimps began exhibiting inappropriate behavior right after he took their frontal lobe. When he found out that his methods were similar to Phineas case, Fulton then presented his findings at the 1935 London 2nd Annual International Neurological Conference. And in that conference was Antonio Egas Moniz.

Moniz got interested in Fulton’s research. He then thought of it as a fundamental basis to his unsupported theory that mental conditions were caused by malfunctioning brain cells in the frontal cortex. That is where Moniz proposed the procedure, based on Fulton’s work, in the aim to know and destroy the malfunctioning brain cells. But damages began when he perform lobotomy to several patients. Yes, most of the patients appear not to display any more symptoms of mental illness. However, these people began to feel emotionless. Permanently, in the attempt of removing the cause of mental illness by drilling out skulls and brain, lobotomy was unintentionally removing what made the patients’ human.

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