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July 18, 1953


Author Affiliations

Rochester, Minn.
From the Section of Psychiatry, Mayo Clinic.

JAMA. 1953;152(12):1085-1089. doi:10.1001/jama.1953.03690120001001

A survey made by the National Institute of Mental Health indicates that by the end of 1949 about 10,000 persons in the United States had undergone lobotomy or some form of surgical ablation of the frontal lobes of the brain for mental illness. The number of operations of this type had increased annually during each of the five preceding years. Thus, the interest in lobotomy has gained momentum since the procedure was introduced by Egas Moniz late in 1935.

The extensive surgical, anatomic, physiological and psychological studies that have emanated from the investigation of patients treated by this method have led to the collection of considerable new knowledge in regard to the functions of the frontal lobe and also have made apparent many deficiencies in that knowledge; for example, the majority of psychological techniques in use at present in the study of such patients are incapable of yielding information about

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