Posts Tagged ‘ Lobotomy ’

New book: ‘The Lobotomy Letters. The Making of American Psychosurgery’ (Mical Raz)

Dr. Walter Freeman’s photographs of lobotomy patients

A few days ago, the blog Advances in the History of Psychology pointed its readers to the work of Miriam Posner (a Mellon Postdoctoral Research Associate at Emory University) and the exceptional collection that constitutes the central object of her Yale university dissertation: Dr. Walter Freeman’s before and after photographs of lobotomy patients.

Some of these pictures are featured in a slideshow presented by the blog Science and the Arts (a project of NPR’s Science Friday) and narrated by Posner herself. Posner “argues that for Freeman the photographs served as medical evidence of the benefits of lobotomy and provided justification for his focus on external behavior rather than their mental states when evaluating surgical outcomes” (AHP).

The full slideshow can be viewed here.

Book announcement – History of Danish Lobotomy

Until recently, the history of lobotomy has been linked to psychiatry. As noted in several studies, lobotomy was frequently employed in the treatment of psychiatric patients who had been hospitalised for years. Lobotomy/leucotomy was introduced by Egas Moniz in 1935, and soon became used by psychiatrists in various countries. In Denmark lobotomies were performed on a large scale. More than 4,000 psychosurgical operations were carried out during the period 1939-1956. With a population of only 4 million Danes in the late 1940s, this is an extremely high number of lobotomies. As a comparison, approximately 20,000 lobotomies were conducted in the U.S. in the same period. However, Danish lobotomies were not only used on psychiatric patients but also on mentally handicapped people. At least 300 mentally handicapped Danes had the operation between 1947 and 1983.  These are the main results from a book written by Jesper Vaczy Krag and entitled Det hvide snit (The White Incision).

The author, Jesper Vaczy Kragh, is very interested to know if mentally handicapped were lobotomized in other countries so please do not hesitate to comment this post.

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