Ice-pick lobotomy was once believed to be a successful treatment for mental illness. Why did people suppose it worked, and what has it taught us about brain function?
- Dr Walter Freeman introduced the Transorbital Lobotomy procedure.
- This involved using ECT to anesthetize the patient, then hammering an ice pick into the skull and twisting to sever neural pathways.
- Between 1936 and 1967 around 100,000 people were lobotomised.
- The 1950s saw a demise in the procedure and it is now considered a monstrous practice.
Dr Walter Freeman has gone down in history for his contribution to brain science, but for all the wrong reasons...
For years he was considered a pioneer of psychiatric medicine but his operations permanently damaged thousands of brains.
Jack El-Hai, Author 'The Lobotomist' – "Psychiatric hospitals in the 1930s were terrible places ...