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“Primum non nocere” - first do no harm
The use of surgical techniques to treat psychological conditions, so-called psychosurgery, has been a feature of therapeutic interventions in many societies since Neolithic times, with the earliest known trephined skull found in Alsace, France, dating to 5100 BC [1, 2]. Trepanation, or trephination, was a technique characterized by the removal of portions of skull that has been found in ossuaries from Europe and Asia to South America and even in parts of Australia [3, 4, 5]. In a series of 288 skulls from the Andes in Southern Peru there were 24 (8%) with trepanations, 13 (54%) of which were healing , with an estimated survival rate of 70% . It was allegedly used to treat headaches, epilepsy and a variety of other neurological conditions , with reports from Salernitanus in the twelfth century stating that breaching the skull in cases of mania allowed “noxious material to exhale to the outside”. Burton in his seventeenth...
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This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by the author.
This study was not funded.
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The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.
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- 4.Worden G. Mütter museum of the college of physicians of Philadelphia. New York: Blast Books; 2002. p. 93.Google Scholar