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Article
February 18, 1956

Personality Changes Following Frontal Leucotomy: A Clinical and Experimental Study of the Functions of the Frontal Lobes in Man

JAMA. 1956;160(7):607. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02960420087032

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Abstract

Since 1936, when Moniz reported that prefrontal leukotomy might be beneficial to certain types of psychotic patients, many attempts have been made to evaluate the normal functions of the frontal lobes of the brain by postoperative studies with standardized psychological tests. Two factors have hindered these investigations: the patients subjected to leukotomy were not normal before operation and thus a baseline has been difficult to draw, and "standardized tests" are not accepted by all investigators on an equal basis. In spite of such handicaps, as well as others of less importance, much has been learned about frontal lobe function, particularly what changes occur in the personality after leukotomy, no matter how disordered that personality might have been before operation. Dr. Tow, former research psychiatrist at Oxford and a fellow in psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital, chose for an experimental series 36 patients between the ages of 20 and 69,

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