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História, Ciências, Saúde-Manguinhos

Print version ISSN 0104-5970On-line version ISSN 1678-4758


MASIERO, André Luis. Lobotomy and leucotomy in Brazilian mental hospitals. Hist. cienc. saude-Manguinhos [online]. 2003, vol.10, n.2, pp.549-572. ISSN 0104-5970.

Lobotomy and leucotomy were used in Brazilian mental institutions from 1936 to 1956. Also called psycho-surgeries, they were operations that separated the right and left frontal lobes and pre-frontal lobes from the rest of the brains, aiming at modifying behavior or curing mental diseases. The technique, created by the Portuguese neurologist Egas Moniz in 1935 and developed by Walter Freeman from the United States, arrived in Brazil through the hands of Aloysio Mattos Pimenta, neurologist from Hospital Psiquiátrico Juquery in São Paulo. Soon, many doctors followed suit. These procedures were used on more than a thousand in-patients aiming at not only healing results, but also the technical improvement of the surgical technique, since preliminary experiments with animals were quite rare at the time. In Brazil, the technique was used until 1956, when it was considered as going against the 1947 Nuremberg Code, whose objective was to detain and regulate the medical experiments with human beings made during the Second World War.

Keywords : lobotomy; leucotomy; brains; history; ethic.

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