For more than two decades, starting in the early 1940s, the controversial medical experiment known as lobotomy (or leucotomy) were widely performed in the United States and Europe.
The practice was widespread in Asia, specifically Japan, where the patients were usually children with behavioral problems.
Back in the day, it was considered an advanced medical procedure to treat mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and manic depression.
Lobotomy was an umbrella term for a series of surgical operations that deliberately damaged the brain’s neurological connections to and from the prefrontal cortex.
Proponents of the procedure believed that destructive behaviors were set down in that particular tissue.
Therefore one way to fix the actions was to intentionally introduce impairment to the connections, most likely by cutting them off. During the early days of lobotomy, medical science did not find any suitable method to treat mental illnesses.
However, there were always critics of lobotomy, people who were quite desperate for treatments resorted to the procedure anyway.
As more scientific evidence about the human brain came to the surface, the world began to realize that lobotomy was as scary and uncertain as they come.
10 Nobel Prize
António Egas Moniz, a Portuguese neurologist, is credited with the invention of lobotomy in 1935. For that idea, he shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1949.
Later on, there would be a movement to revoke the prize by victims of lobotomy or their families, to no avail.
Yale neuroscientist named John Fulton and his colleague Carlyle Jacobsen performed a procedure similar to lobotomy on chimpanzees in 1935.
About a year later, Moniz and his colleague Almeida Lima took the experiment even further by serving it on a human subject. It was reportedly a successful procedure.
9 Side Effects
Despite reports of success, that first experiment on humans introduced severe side effects to the patient.
Among the most noticeable symptoms were the abnormal sensation of hunger, vomiting, increased temperature, lethargy, eye problems, bladder and bowel incontinence.
The medical community was skeptical and critical, yet the procedure remained to be practiced by physicians worldwide. A lot of lobotomies were performed on patients at mental institutions.
The most significant side effect was long-term mental dullness. Many patients lost their personalities or could not live independently after having been lobotomized.