Thursday, January 8, 2009


During my time off away from the gallery office, I've been watching all sorts of television. I love it... there is nothing more relaxing than laying on my comfy couch watching bizarre documentaries or weird movies. I have a friend who always jokes that I know lots of weird, semi-useless information, I'm sure this is from watching too much television docos!

Anyway in the last week I have seen 2 documentaries (possibly both on SBS) regarding lobotomy. The first one, called just Lobotomy, I had to turn off as it was slightly making me feel ill watching people's brains be hacked into with an ice pick through their eye sockets!! (insert gag here) The second doco was just generally on the brain I think, but the most interesting part was about this guy who lived in San Jose California who had undergone a lobotomy by this doctor using the ice-pick method when he was 11 or 12 years old. It was slightly disturbing as his mum had died when he was 5, father remarried and child didn't get along with step-mum. As any young man, he was playing up a bit and his folks took this as "he has a mental problem" rather than "he's just an 11 year old boy" and took him for a lobotomy!!

In the program, they took a MRI scan of his brain which apparently had never been done as I suspect most lobotomy recipients are no longer in the land of the living. What was fascinating was where the icepick had been inserted on both sides of the brain, his brain was dead. They said that they would see this kind of thing on patients who had had a stroke. This guy who was maybe 50 now was still very active and quite 'normal' but because the lobotomy had been done so early in his life, his brain had taught itself to re-circuit and act normally. Also the crazy thing is the parts that the doctor 'lobotomized' were the areas of the brain that look after judgement and inhibitions, meaning that in reality they kind of made him worse off.

Fascinating, weird and a little gross and also more semi-useless information for my own brain!

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