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Anatomical studies in lobotomy Smythies, John Raymond

Abstract

This thesis contains a report of an investigation that has been carried out over the last year and a half into the tracing of fibre tracts in the human brain by the method of terminal degeneration. Four brains have been used and the extent of the degeneration (where present) in each has been traced in detail. Particular attention has been paid to improving the method of terminal degeneration by setting up and using objective and quantitative criteria of degeneration in place of the subjective and qualitative criteria that have been used in the past. Descriptions of the different appearance of degeneration in different parts of the nervous system are also given. Thus an accurate account can be given of the fibres cut in these cases of prefrontal lobotomy and of the efferent projections of that part of the frontal lobe undercut by the lesion. These accounts help in placing the operation on a rational basis and give information on the anatomy of the connexions in the human brain that cannot be obtained in any other manner.

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