The selected podcast features a personal story of Howard Dully who has undergone a lobotomy at the age of 12 from a psychiatrist Walter Freeman. Today, Howard Dully is an adult who seeks to understand why was this horrible procedure performed on him while he was still a child and to understand the key forces that have shaped the popularity of lobotomy in the mid-XX century. In this podcast, Dully shares his personal experience with the procedure itself and with its aftermath.
Secondly, Dully interviews people who have undergone the lobotomy themselves, their relatives, as well as those who personally new Freeman. Overall, the podcast portrays that lobotomy has become a very popular treatment for mental illness because of the high prevalence of mental illnesses in the United States along with lack of adequate treatments available for them. Further, a few but the overly-publicized successes of lobotomy has contributed to the growing recognition of this procedure which has turned out to be largely a gamble with the subjects health and well-being (‘My Lobotomy’, 2005).
From the point of view of cognitive neuroscience, lobotomy may be characterized yet another step towards developing an understanding of how does human brain, completed in utmost ignorance about what effect it actually had on people who underwent it. It is now clear that the way lobotomy was performed, the procedure has disrupted or destroyed numerous connections between neurons in the frontal lobe where decision-making processes and the ability to reason.
Generally, ruining the established connections between neurons disrupts one’s mental life and damaging the continuity and congruence of one’s personality because it is detrimental to the neurophysiological basis of one’s mental life. Although the brain might seem an immobile and stable organ, the neurons in it are actually communicating continuously with the help of electrical signals (Goldstein, 2007). By damaging even some neural tissue in the brain, lobotomy disrupted the neural communication and patterns and neural connections essential for living a sane life.
- Goldstein, E. (2007). Cognitive Psychology: Connecting Mind, Research, and Everyday Experience. Cengage Learning.
- ‘My Lobotomy’: Howard Dully’s Journey. (2005). Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/2005/11/16/5014080/my-lobotomy-howard-dullys-journey.