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March 1973


Arch Neurol. 1973;28(3):213-214. doi:10.1001/archneur.1973.00490210093020

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Psychosurgery, the destruction or removal of human brain tissue in an effort to ameliorate abnormal or troublesome behavior, was initiated in 1937 by Moniz following on Fulton's observation that frontal lobotomy pacified chimpanzees. During the following decade, variations in the frontal operative attack flourished, spurred on more by hopefulness than by the impressive nature of the medical result. Psychosurgery languished somewhat during the 1950's but since the latter part of that decade, as the anatomical ramifications of the limbic system and its relationships to emotional behavior received more attention by neurological scientists, operative horizons have widened to include parts of the limbic system, particularly the amygdala, the anterior hippocampal formation, and the cingulum. Enterprising investigators have placed lesions even in thalamus and brain stem. The selection of targets has to a considerable degree been based on experience gained from animal experimentation, with clinical-pathological correlations in man providing a smaller but

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