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October 1951

UNILATERAL AND BILATERAL LOBOTOMY: A Controlled Evaluation

Author Affiliations

SAN FRANCISCO

From the Divisions of Psychiatry and Neurosurgery, University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco, and The Langley Porter Clinic, Department of Mental Hygiene, State of California.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1951;66(4):494-503. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1951.02320100094012
Abstract

THE GROWTH of psychosurgery as an adjunct in the treatment of mental illness is reflected in the increasing number of operations on the frontal lobe performed in the past 15 years. Although the method was not introduced until 1936, by March, 1947, over 2,000 lobotomies had been done in the United States, 1,725 of this number since 1941.1 By June, 1948, the number had grown to approximately 5,0002 and by October, 1949, to over 10,000.3 Despite this rapid growth, there exists considerable controversy as to many aspects of the operation. Studies to date leave unclear the relative efficacy of various modifications in surgical approach, the optimum plane of section, the site of ablation, and the quantity of cortex to be isolated. The extent, duration, and specificity of emotional, intellectual, and personality defects require further elucidation. Moreover, there is need to evaluate the therapeutic effects of the psychic

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