The criminal brain

Deviating behavior has always been interested in brain researchers – until today. Neurotechnology Part 2

The expectations of neurosurgery and brain stimulation were roughly rough in the 1950s and 1960s. However, promising discoveries in psychotropic acology shifted interest towards drug treatment. During the knowledge of neurobiological aspects of aggression and criminal behavior at that time was speculative and is speculative, other social applications found for neurotechnologies. Method of brain stimulation have been further developed away from the media interest and today are the last hope for many neurological patients.

Part 1: Submission technology

The first part ended with Walt Freeman, the pioneer in the field of lobotomy, ie the operations for the separation of the frontal lugs from the rest of the brain. There was no secured scientific evidence for his procedure. He hoarded shoe boxes with thanks of his patients instead. In other cases, however, the surgery had devastating effects. For example, the state of Rosemary Kennedy, the slightly mentally disabled sister of the later US Prassident John F. Kennedys, according to their lobotomy 1941 considerably.1

The criminal brain

Rosemary Kennedy (front right) on a family photo of 1931. Picture: U.S. Government

Jose Delgado reports an even more dramatic case: In the 1950s, a series gloom was placed in front of the choice between a long-term penalty penalty and a frontal brain operation. Although his condition seemed to improve after lobotomy, he committed new offenses after a few months. When the police was close to the heels, he wrote to the surgeon a farewell letter with thanks and regret that the surgery was not successful with him. He made his doctor’s brain, hoping to help others, and dead himself with a shot into the heart.2

At this time, Walter Freeman once drove a transorbital lobotomy in a hotel room through, while police officers held the applied patients. Still in the 1960s, he operated otherwise nuclear young people who had been diagnosed with an extent.3 with the 1962 published and filmed in 1975 "One flew over the cuckoo’s nest" enlisted. ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST) by Ken Kesey, however, increasingly widespread a negative image of brain operations in the public. In addition, the first psychopharmaca was discovered in the 1950s, which improved the treatment of psychiatric patients.

Jack Nicholson in "One flew over the cuckoo’s nest". Image: Warner Bos.

Nevertheless, in the US, from the middle of the 1930s to the middle of the 1950s, 20 years were scatored 20.000 lobotomies carried out.4 For many doctors, the interventions were a last hope for patients who did not know them otherwise. Against this background, Delgado’s attempts for brain stimulation are classified. Compared with the destruction of entire brain areas, imports of some electrodes is more immortal and above all largely reversible – "reversible", How to call it professionals.

For the time being pill boom instead of brain operation

Nevertheless, it carries ethical pet fabric if we think of the remote control of people by brain stimulator – or even Delgados via radio controllable stimocule -. The pioneer of the brain stimulation itself found the ethical barrier, which was slightly above-windable: as soon as the procedures in patients – and, they had to adding: the criminals tested – reliably functioning, the social concerns were already disappearing, suspected Delgado.

The technical feasibility roughened the moral doubt. The fact that one went another way in history was allowed to lie on the high expectations of the then discovered psychopharmaca. However, in recent years, more and more pharmaceutical companies from psychiatric research moved back.5

Too high is the development costs and statutory hospital, too low the chances of success. In the field of research therefore, therefore, dickness spreads. The prevents US psychiatrists such as Steven Hyman from the Harvard University or Thomas Island, director of the National Institutes of Mental Health, of course not because of the promise of the upcoming breakthrough the advertising drum of psychopharmacology to drag (the abolition of mental illness with the funds The brain research). First of all, the purpose is to subsequent purpose.

With this dynament about the benefits of pills, new expectations of brain stimulation go hand in hand today. Of course, the neurosurgical procedures and the stimulation technologies have evolved in recent decades, as well as the medical ethical standards. Delgado was able to experience a partial rehabilitation of his proceedings at his seventary evening, which today represent a last hope for many patients. A second Walter Freeman, who traveled through the states with his motorhome and sometimes even carried out on the dining table a brain operation, but nowadays appears unimaginable – at least in Europe and North America. Whether the new brain operations will be more than an Ultima ratio, an awesome remedy in severe neurological diseases, and one day will also be used again in the psychiatric area in the width of widespread, will be in the next few years to decades.

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