Sunday, 14 August 2011

Science Sunday: Lobotomies

Lobotomy was a misguided and now largely obsolete psychiatric treatment, in which the prefrontal cortex of the brain would be intentionally damaged by inserting a long pointed rod, called an orbitoclast, through the eye socket. The orbitoclast was then thrust into the brain with a small hammer, in an attempt to bring about a change in the patient's behaviour. 

The medical technique originally began as a neurological practice in 1935, and lasted well to the 1950's. The practice cost the lives of many patients that went through it, due to severing the connecting tissues in the brain that allegedly cause us to worry, in the hope of curing mental illnesses such as Alzheimer's and schizophrenia.

Rather than being cured, those that survived the quick and allegedly painless operation, often had negative repercussions, such as greatly reduced cognitive functioning or severe pain. There were, however, very occasionally some patients, such as 1940's French Canadian singer Alys Robi, who claimed that the lobotomy she was forced to undergo had actually been beneficial to her.

A still from the lobotomy scene in 'Sucker Punch'
Though highly traumatizing in reality, the procedure has inspired many intriguing cinematic scenes in film and television, such as those featured in Stephen King's 'Kingdom Hospital', William Butler's 'Madhouse', and more recently, Zack Snyder's 'Sucker Punch'.


  1. I just watched about a documentary about lobotomy! What a coincident...

  2. @Vagina Galore

    Really? That's random! Who was it about?

  3. @Lilia Tombs

    It was in general about the history of asylums in the UK. There they talked about frontal lobotomy etc etc. Quite intresting!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...