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August 1975

Lobotomy in Private Practice: Long-Term Follow-up

Author Affiliations

From the departments of psychiatry, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis (Dr. Bernstein); Yale University, New Haven, Conn (Dr. Callahan); and Ramsey Hospital, St. Paul, Minn (Dr. Jaranson).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1975;32(8):1041-1047. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1975.01760260105009

In a follow-up of 43 private psychiatric patients referred for open bimedial prefrontal lobotomies between 1948 and 1970, patients were rated by personal interviews and review of medical records for symptom improvement and organic brain syndromes. Initial diagnoses were obsessive-compulsive neurotic (27), hypochondriacal neurotic (five), manic-depressive (depressed) (one), and schizophrenic (ten). All had been severely impaired by illness intractable to extensive previous treatment.

Thirty-five were found to be virtually free of symptoms that prompted operation, six had some improvement, and two were unimproved. Six had moderate to severe organic brain syndromes; three had seizure disorders necessitating treatment; and 17 incurred substantial weight gains. Best results were for hypochondriacal and obsessive-compulsive neurotic patients with phobic symptoms: poorest results were for paranoid schizophrenic subjects. This study was undertaken to provide some increment of data that could aid ongoing efforts to evaluate the consequences of this treatment.

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