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The Gold-Plated Leucotomy Standard and Deep Brain Stimulation

Abstract

Walter Freeman, the self styled neurosurgeon, became famous (or infamous) for psychosurgery. The operation of frontal leucotomy swept through the world (with Freeman himself performing something like 18,000 cases) but it has tainted the whole idea of psychosurgery down to the present era. Modes of psychosurgery such as Deep Brain Stimulation and other highly selective neurosurgical procedures for neurological and psychiatric conditions are in ever-increasing use in current practice. The new, more exciting techniques are based in a widely held philosophical position on the relationship between the mind, brain and soul, which is the key to ethical debates in this area. Psychosurgery has always posed questions of responsibility, personality, character, identity, spirit, relationship, integrity, and human flourishing and they do not go away when we enter the brave new world of neuroethics and Deep Brain Stimulation.

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Correspondence to Grant Gillett.

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Gillett, G. The Gold-Plated Leucotomy Standard and Deep Brain Stimulation. Bioethical Inquiry 8, 35–44 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11673-010-9281-z

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Keywords

  • Neuroethics
  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Psychosurgery