Warning: I am not a doctor. This is just my opinion. You and you alone should be allowed to judge for yourself what is and is not right for you. Legal jargon: consult with your doctor before starting or stopping medical treatments.
Reminder, before we begin: I think that if you (an adult) want to get parts of your brain destroyed, that is your business, not mine. The only thing that concerns me is OUR right to say: NO! But alas, as the medical industrial complex pushes forward, many have lost their rights to say just that: NO. After all, what would happen to this trillion dollar industry if we all got “better”…seriously, what would our economy do without all the sick?
Let me ask you a question: What separates man from beast? Yes, yes, we are animals, but what has allowed us to become the masters, so to speak, of this world. Our brains, in fact, take away our brains and what is left, an animal that would do piss poor in this world. So while I greet those born with medical-mental disabilities with open arms, I do not relish in the thought of us doing it to ourselves. You don’t have to be a eugenics believer to understand that the human brain is important. Emotions are important. Seriously, what would this world be like if we lost the ability to love, to feel empathy, to feel sadness?
A brief history of Lobotomy: The first were performed in 1935, initially by drilling holes in the skull on either side of the prefrontal cortex and injecting the connecting fibers with alcohol to destroy them. This stopped, why: too many side-effects and complications (Those darn side-effects) one being damage to other parts of the brain. Next: they would drill holes in the skull but use a tool called a leucotome. (luke a tOm) The doctor would press on the back of the tool which would extend a wire or metal loop inside then retract it which would remove cores of white matter. Ten years later, Freeman perfected a newer method called a prefrontal lobotomy. They used general anesthesia. It was faster and less expensive, he got to the prefrontal cortex through the eye sockets. This new method could be done in under 10 minutes.
In the USA about 50,000 patients were lobotomized. Some patients were happy with the outcome, some were not. Some examples of the not so happy come by way of the 12-year-old boy who was lobotomized because his stepmother wanted to change his personality because the boy was defiant. The most famous of these lobotomies was Rosemary Kennedy, who was lobotomized because she went from an easygoing child to a rebellious moody teen. At the age of 23 she underwent the lobotomy and was left with the mental capacity of an infant. Another woman was lobotomized for treatment of postpartum depression. She went from sad to: there but not there.
A question brought up at Science, How Stuff Works, is an interesting one: “If the results varied so much, then why did lobotomies become the way to treat mental illness? They further said: the answer lies in the state of psychiatric care during the time that lobotomy was popularized. (This is what makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up and sends a shiver down my spine. ) A lot of parallels can be seen between now and then. Yes they didn’t have widespread treatment, but their treatments weren’t working, it wasn’t until medication was popularized and able to control incontrollable patients that the practice really stopped. So what happens when medication doesn’t work? They already brought back electro-shock therapy, bring back the lobotomy is not farfetched, after all 1 in 5 Americans are using Psychotropic drugs…and as we see in the news right now, these drugs just aren’t doing their “job”
So how did lobotomies stop in America? Criticism grew after USSR banned lobotomies in 1953. Dr. Nicolai Oseresky said lobotomies: “violate the principles of humanity.”
Let me say that again: Lobotomies violate the principles of humanity.
This growing wave of criticism continued, and it wasn’t until the numbers of lobotomies increased and stories like: criminals being given lobotomies against their will. Battle fatigued WW II vets were being lobotomized to “free” up space in hospitals (A reminder, vets are being treated like crap again), and more and more family members were consenting for the patient so they didn’t have to “deal” with them. The abuse stories grew, but alas, it was the rise of antipsychotic drugs that helped stop it. Freeman gave his last lobotomy in 1967 when giving a woman her third lobotomy died from a brain hemorrhage.
Now: Here is the scoop on the modern day Lobotomy according to the US National Lbrary of Medicine National Institutes of Health:
A retrospective analysis was performed for 34 patients. They had intractable (hard to control or deal with) major affective disorder and or obsessive compulsive disorder.
Major affective disorder: Is any mental disorder NOT caused by detectable organic abnormalities of the brain and in which a major disturbance of emotions is predominant. SYN: emotional disorder.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: People who feel the need to check things repeatedly, or have certain thoughts or perform routines and rituals over and over. The thoughts and rituals associated with OCD cause distress and get in the way of daily life.
These 34 patients underwent the lobotomy in 1991. 14 people underwent 50 procedures. Overall 38% were classified as responders, 23% possible responders, and 38% nonresponders. Of the patients who did not respond to the initial cingulotomies, but underwent multiple cingulotomies, 36% became responders.
There were no deaths (from this huge sample of 34) and no reported long-term side effects.
This information doesn’t really explain what is done today. I did however get information from a health insurance website who happens to cover this procedure. It stated a description of what this “new form of lobotomy was all about”
MRI-guided sterotactic cingulotomy consists of lesioning the white matter deep to the cingulate (Sing U lut) gyrus (Ji rus) (Lesioning means damage, it is derived from the latin word laesio meaning injury)
The cingulate gyrus is an important part of the limbic system which helps regulate emotions and pain. The cingulate gyrus is also involved in predicting and avoiding negative consequences. It is thought to directly drive the body’s conscious response to unpleasant experiences. In addition it is involved in fear and the prediction or avoidance of negative consequences and can help orient the body away from negative stimuli. Learning to avoid negative consequences is an important feature of memory.
For those unaware: The brain has gray matter and white matter. The gray matter contains the nerve cells, and the white matter of the brain is composed of nerve fibers and myelin. The nerve fibers form the connections between the nerve cells. (Biomedcentral describes the white matter as the subway of the brain, I like this analogy. it simplifies things)
Positive note on this new “lobotomy” It did show that it could help relieve pain secondary to cancer in 30 to 90% of patients, it was shown that it is of most benefit when major suffering from malignant chronic pain. So that is a plus. No one wants to be in chronic pain. That sucks.
Let’s wrap this up. In diving deeper I reviewed information at Harvard’s Department of Psychiatry website: They stated: The pathways involved in psychiatric illness are poorly defined and surgical results variable, therefore the practice of psychiatric neurosurgery has often been surrounded by controversy.
As well as it should be. If they don’t understand the illness and the “treatments” and results thereof are variable…one must take pause. One must be able to refuse.
In moving forward we need to ask: What does it mean to be a human? Are emotions bad or do they serve a purpose? Lastly: Do you want to live in a world where doctors decide your fate, especially when they themselves admit that these “illnesses” are poorly defined and the results of “treatment” vary? Do you want to live in a world where you have no rights at all when it concerns your body?
And remember: When they take away a right concerning your body they use fear and they first exploit the most vulnerable, the children, the weak, and the sick.
That’s all I have for you.