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Date Submitted: 09/16/2012 11:38 AM

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Psychosurgery is one of the medical field’s most infamous procedures throughout history. The procedure was first developed by Portuguese neurologist, Egas Moniz in November 1935 which was further developed by Walter Freeman, an American neurologist with the help of fellow neurosurgeon Dr James Watt. Psychosurgery is the alteration of brain tissue in an attempt to alleviate psychological disorders (Davis and Palladino, 2005, p. 589). By understanding the beginning of this surgical procedure, it will unravel how and why psychosurgery was done and its effects towards both the patients and society.

In 1930, Dr Antonio Egas Moniz was expecting a Nobel Prize for his success in enabling doctors to visualize blood vessels in the brain by using radioactive tracers but was then disappointed as he did not receive the prize. Dr Egas Moniz attended a neurology conference in 1935 where there was a presentation about the effects of removing the frontal lobes of chimpanzees. This presentation soon motivated him to try similar approaches but on humans as a mean for treating psychological problems. Moniz proposed that unusual adhesiveness of nerve cells is the source that nerve impulse get caught and cause psychological problems (Anonymous, 1998). Moniz performed his first surgery in 1935 with a colleague, Dr Almeida Lima in which they developed a procedure named leucotomy or white matter cutting (Sabbatini, June 1997). Moniz picked several suitable patients to conduct the surgery on. He reported that the surgery had a positive effect on several patients who suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression and schizophrenia. Moniz’s determination of improvement was rather subjective, but his idea was well received by the medical world. He was hesitated to announce his results as only a handful was a success. Severely agitated or depressive patients had a positive outcome (Sabbatini, June 1997). Based on Stang (June 20, 2010) Dr Moniz advised the treatment to patients with a...