The Lobotomist

Feb 3, 2008 by     2 Comments    Posted under: science, social issues, television
Last Monday I felt fine. Had a few doctors appointments during the day and later that night settled in with my local PBS station.

They aired a program titled The Lobotomist. The program was an account of neurologist Walter Freeman who devised a procedure which came to be known as “ice-pick” lobotomy. It was performed by lifting the eye lid, inserting an ice-pick, using a hammer to tap the ice-pick through the bone in the orbital socket then moving the ice-pick from side to side to detach the frontal lobe from the thalamus. Sounds like something straight out of the Inquisition eh? Well this little operation was done, ostensibly to help patients suffering from various mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression.

I was horrified and the images in the documentary disturbed me but I simply couldn’t change the channel. The next morning I woke up with one of the worst head colds I think I’ve ever had. I was so sick I couldn’t move my head from side to side without feeling the most excruciating pain and dizziness.

While I was truly sick with high fever, chills, ear aches and horribly stuffed nose, after reading blog buddy, Dr. Deb’s post on the Nocebo Effect, I can’t help but wonder how much our subconscious mind plays a role in our physical health.


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2 Comments + Add Comment

  • You know, there are days when I’ve felt like giving an ice-pick lobotomy to some of my co-workers–perhaps I should just rent them the DVD and let nature take its course.

    Hope you are feeling better soon.

  • There is a book called “My Lobotomy” by a man who had one forced on him when he was *twelve*. I think he went to this very same butcher. I’m amazed at the tortures that can be done in “medicine’s” name.

    So much for educational television, huh?