LOBOTOMÍA 💉🧠 | Draw My Life

Today’s story is so terrifying and surreal that it seems fictitious. But it is reality, and it happened not long ago. It is the history of lobotomy, a surgical technique that sought to cure problems psychiatric treatments based on perforations in the brain, and that was applied to thousands of patients helpless. At that time mental institutions were saturated with patients who were not known how to deal . The first neurological drugs would not appear until decades later, and the treatment The most recurrent was electroshock, which was based on the curative effect of coma and convulsions, induced by electric shocks. There was no risk of death, but patients used to end up with several broken bones. In the decade of the 30s in a congress of Neurosurgery in London, a experiment carried out with two chimpanzees that presented symptoms of anxiety and neurosis. The frontal lobe of the brain is removed, and in one of them the symptoms disappear, showing more docile and calm. One of the assistants, the Portuguese neurologist Egas Moniz, was so impressed by the experiment that decided to study how to apply it in humans. Months later, Moniz developed a surgical technique that he applied to a group of 20 patients who suffered disorders of neurosis and anxiety. It consisted in drilling two holes in the frontal or lateral part of the skull, and injecting alcohol on the cortex of the brain to kill a part of it. Later, the intervention would be improved using a leukotome, which was inserted into the hole and with its rotation sectioned more or less slices of brain, depending on the severity of the patient. Moniz and his team analyzed the immediate evolution of the patients and found a success. Seven had healed and seven had shown improvement, while six others had simply They had not changed. They published the results, legitimizing the lobotomy as a treatment, and years later Moniz received the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Unfortunately in 1939 one of his patients, dissatisfied with his treatment, shot him eight shots, leaving him paralyzed for the rest of his life. USA it was the country where more lobotomies were made, and the culprit for its popularity was the psychiatrist Walter Freeman, who performed thousands of operations despite not being a surgeon. He used a faster technique, which was to introduce a punch similar to an ice pick through the eye’s orbit, and rotate it to destroy the frontal lobe connection with the rest of the brain. It was done in a maximum of 15 minutes, and did not need special care, what could be done outside the operating room. Thanks to this, Freeman started offering this service at home, traveling all over the country in a van that he called the “Lobotomóvil”. His method was advertised in newspapers and television, and patients came to queue It is estimated that he made almost 2,500 lobotomies, and that there were days when he performed up to 25 daily. In total more than 5,000 people were lobotomized in the US, and between 40,000 and 50,000 in all the world. Freeman opined that the frontal lobe contained the individual’s personality, while the emotion resided in the thalamus. In mental patients the thalamus predominated over the rest and caused obsessions. The lobotomy cut off some nerves of the brain, eliminating that predominance and stabilizing the personality. As advertised, it served to treat depression, schizophrenia, neurosis, anxiety, and communism. But the truth is that lobotomy cancels the personality of patients, leaving them in a state similar to that of a zombie. They no longer showed anxiety or agitation, but because they were totally indifferent to the world that surrounded them, submerged in apathy. Mortality was not high but over time many had severe brain damage, as mental retardation or vegetative state. Even so the lobotomy continued practicing because there was a third part of the intervened who improved in their symptoms. And because there was no alternative treatment than perpetual confinement in an institution mental. Precisely the detractors affirmed that the lobotomy was simply used to to be able to calm and make mental patients more manageable. Some cases of interventions became well known. Like the one of Howard Dully, lobotomized with only 12 years, and that already of adult in 2007 published his memoirs in which he explained his life between prison and alcoholism. Or the one of Rosemary Kennedy, younger sister of the famous president and mentally disabled, who was lobotomized and abandoned in a sanatorium by her father, so that it would not harm the image public of the family. From the 50s, other less aggressive treatments began to be used. With the discovery of chlorpromazine, the effectiveness of the medication improved a lot, and the lobotomy was discontinued. Freeman performed his last lobotomy in 1964, when a patient of his who underwent surgery for the third time, he died from a hemorrhage caused by the intervention. The rest of his life he spent studying and following up his patients to try to prove that his method worked. However, it was shown that the lobotomy only had an effectiveness of 10%, and the opposite caused irreversible sequelae in most people. With these data in hand, a group of relatives of affected people is complaining to the Academy Suega that the Nobel Prize of Medicine be withdrawn to Egas Moniz for considering that his achievement has caused more harm than good. The lobotomy may seem like a horror of past eras, but the truth is that it was followed practicing until almost the 80s. Fortunately, today we know much more about how the brain works, and the fundamental role of the frontal lobes in the very essence of our personality.



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