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February 25, 1974

The Continuing Polemic of Psychosurgery

Author Affiliations

Boston City Hospital

JAMA. 1974;227(8):943. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230210053026

To the Editor.—  The letter by Breggin in a recent issue of The Journal is inaccurate (226:1121, 1973).

  1. It states that Frank Ervin and I attempted to make the case of patient Thomas R., a temporal lobe epileptic with localized cerebral atrophy, rage attacks, and intermittent thought disorders, into a "success story." The implication that we claimed this patient was cured by a brain operation as reported in our book, Violence and the Brain (New York, Harper & Row Publishers, 1970, p 97), is false. The book states only that his rage attacks stopped, and that seizures and thought disorders continued.

  2. Breggin implies that the patient's violent rage attacks continued unabated after operation. However, for four years after the patient's 1967 operation, there was no mention of violent attacks in the reports sent to us by the patient's physicians. Furthermore, one doctor, who followed him closely in part