By Jenell Johnson

ISBN-10: 0472119443

ISBN-13: 9780472119448

American Lobotomy reviews a large choice of representations of lobotomy to provide a rhetorical heritage of 1 of the main notorious approaches within the heritage of medication. the advance of lobotomy in 1935 was once heralded as a “miracle treatment” that might empty the nation’s perennially blighted asylums. despite the fact that, merely two decades later, lobotomists first and foremost praised for his or her “therapeutic braveness” have been condemned for his or her barbarity, a picture that has simply soured in next many years. Johnson employs formerly deserted texts like technological know-how fiction, horror movie, political polemics, and conspiracy idea to teach how lobotomy’s entanglement with social and political narratives contributed to a strong picture of the operation that persists to today. The e-book provocatively demanding situations the background of drugs, arguing that rhetorical background is important to figuring out clinical background. It bargains a case learn of the way drugs accumulates that means because it circulates in public tradition and argues for the necessity to comprehend biomedicine as a culturally located perform.

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Extra info for American Lobotomy: A Rhetorical History

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I knew that” (Dully and Fleming 2007, 231). Although the information in previous case-­file entries was taken from interviews Freeman had conducted with his father and stepmother, the information about the attack was from a meeting his father had not attended. Rodney Dully later confirmed that his wife’s charge had been fabricated (247). During an interview, Howard and producer David Isay encouraged Rodney to explain why he had given his consent for the operation. Yet he would say only that Lou, who had never liked Howard, had insisted it be done.

Patient: Yes, I feel pretty good right now. (1950, 129–­130) Proponents of lobotomy operated with the conviction that it worked, and then, after observing the operation’s effects on people like the railroad brakeman above, they reasoned back to why it worked. It might seem shocking that Moniz, Freeman, and Watts would perform surgery before they fully understood the neurological basis of its effects on behavior—­or the physiology of the frontal lobes, for that matter, an area of the brain often called the “silent lobe” because neurologists understood so little about its function (J.

7 Just one year later, Freeman and Watts shaved off Alice Hammatt’s curly hair. In a prefrontal lobotomy, surgeons drilled two holes through the skull, inserted a specialized instrument called a leucotome through the burr holes into the brain, and swept it back and forth to sever fibers between the frontal lobes, located immediately behind the forehead, and the thalamus, situated in the middle of the brain (for a detailed description, see Freeman and Watts 1950, 33–­50). In 1946, Walter Freeman began performing the transorbital version of the operation for which he is now best known.

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