January 18

Prominent Harvard psychiatrists conducted Lobotomies at Boston Psychopathic Hospital

Dr. Milton Greenblatt, Dr. Harry Solomon, Dr. Julius Levine, and Dr. Norman Paul actively promoted bimedial lobotomy in the major journals. The lobotomy studies were funded by the U.S. Public Health Service. Levine, Greenblatt and Solomon reported the “superiority” of bimedial lobotomy over the conventional approach in The New England Journal of Medicine (1951); Greenblatt and Solomon reported “evidence is strong” “the reduction in anxiety, tension, hostility, and impulsivity is dramatic. . .” in the American Journal of Psychiatry (1952). Paul and Greenblatt reported the findings of a 5-year follow-up of 116 patients whom they had lobotomized in JAMA (1956) and the Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease (1956). They claimed remarkably successful results; but the veracity of those claims is unlikely:

“The bimedial procedure gave the best results, in that 54% of these patients were working full time and productively five years after operation. The corresponding figures for the bilateral and unilateral groups were 33% and 29%. These results were striking, since these were all patients whose mental illness had been unremitting for at least 2 1/2 years before surgery and had been refractory to insulin coma, electric shock treatment, and intensive psychotherapy.”


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