July 1942

Psychosurgery: Intelligence, Emotion and Social Behavior Following Prefrontal Lobotomy for Mental Disorders.

Author Affiliations

By Walter Freeman, M.D., Professor of Neurology, and James W. Watts, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery, George Washington University. Price, $6. Pp. 338, with 81 figures. Springfield, Ill.: Charles C. Thomas, Publisher, 1942.

Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1942;70(1):179. doi:10.1001/archinte.1942.00200190189011

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This is one of the most interesting and important books of the year because it marks the first major development in the treatment of mental disease since the advent of shock therapy. A new operation for certain types of psychoses and neuroses is described in minute detail in part III. Briefly, the procedure consists in making a burr hole in the skull over the premotor area of the frontal lobe. A flat blade shaped like a spatula is inserted 5 cm. into the brain and given a pendulum-like movement, so that it severs most of the fiber tracks which traverse the white matter at this level. The operation is performed on both sides at one sitting. The net result is a partial but permanent separation of the frontal lobes from the rest of the brain. An operation of this type was first performed in 1935 by Egas Moniz, to whom

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