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TRAMES. A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN 1736-7514 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-0922 (Print)
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Full article in PDF format | doi: 10.3176/tr.2009.2.03

Marshall J. Getz

Between 1935 and 1955, psychosurgery was regarded as standard treatment for schizophrenics. Egas Moniz and Walter Freeman had revived it, after earlier experiments led to questionable results. Perhaps the most radical of the biological approaches in psychiatry, it generated controversy after physicians operated on thousands of patients. Claims of its safety and precision met with some resistance, and many who were judged to be relieved had serious side effects. This study traces the role played by Moniz and Freeman in the development of this treatment.

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