Methods of their madness

May 27, 2010

In "Braving the elements" (20 May), Barbara Oakley forcefully describes the Portuguese neurologist and diplomat Antonio Egas Moniz as "spearheading" the use of frontal lobotomy. However, his method of leucotomy was far more precise than the crude ice-pick intervention advocated and administered by Walter Freeman to thousands of unanaesthetised patients in the US.

On the positive side, Moniz had in 19 developed the highly useful technique of cerebral angiography, which allows the visualisation of blood vessels in the brain.

In 1939, he was shot in the leg by a psychopath. Many may well regret that the patient's aim was not more accurate and wish that the mania for massive psychosurgery had never broken out.

Richard E. Rawles, Honorary research fellow in psychology, University College London.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 10 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Business Development Officer YORK ST JOHN UNIVERSITY
Lecturer in Linguistics YORK ST JOHN UNIVERSITY
Associate Professor/Professor EDINBURGH NAPIER UNIVERSITY

Most Commented

Brexit, EU referendum

Joanna Williams voted Leave, and has been left disappointed by the academy’s reaction to the EU referendum result

Elly Walton illustration (7 July 2016)

Researchers in the liberal arts seem to have made it their mission to communicate in the most obscure fashion, says Zachary Foster

Daniel Mitchell illustration (14 July 2016)

Frank Furedi says the mournful mood on campus and the disparagement and silencing of Leave supporters betray an isolated scholarly class

Michael Parkin illustration (7 July 2016)

Rising immigration-related costs and lack of employer support send an unwelcoming message to international staff, says Jason Danely

People walk past second hand books for sale

Shift may be evidence that researchers feel they are increasingly judged on citations and journal impact factors