We have seen some fantastic Nobel prize winners in our lifetimes, it is the prize to celebrate the greatest discoveries, thoughts and concepts of our time, along with the minds who created them. Every once in a while, a Nobel prize is incorrectly awarded in our opinion so here’s the details of the worst Nobel prize ever awarded, for one of the worst practises in medicine that have ever existed, Lobotomy.
The Nobel Prize for Cruelty
The mess began in 1935 when John Fulton started testing the effects of chopping out various parts of chimpanzee brains. He was studying the behaviour of the animals before and after removing certain parts. This research was carried out on the cerebrum which is divided into 4 different lobes. Fulton had heard or incidents where damaging the frontal lobe changed peoples personalities so he set about removing the orbitofrontal cortex from chimpanzee brains. The results showed the chimps becoming more docile and seeming much calmer.
The Development Of Lobotomy
When Fulton presented his findings one audience member in particular decided to take the research further. Antonio Egas Moniz was a medical professor who thought that the idea of cutting out parts of the brain could help further his research and work with severely depressed people. He had theorised already that issues in brain connections in the frontal lobe may cause mental illness, and so the lobotomy was developed.
The Worst Nobel Prize Ever
Moniz himself wasn’t exactly a bad guy, he just thought things differently back then to what we know now, and started cutting the frontal lobes out of patients. What he observed as a great success for the advancement in medicine, was actually lobotomy, one of the cruellest and torturous medical practises in history. It didn’t cure mental illness as much as completely depersonalise someone, but this didn’t stop medical professionals from all over the world nominating him for the most prestigious science award of all time in 1949, and the number of lobotomies everywhere rose because of it.
With the introduction of Chlorpromazine, a drug that blocks over-active dopamine receptors, we thankfully saw the numbers of lobotomies decrease and nowadays it is considered a very disgusting practise, which is a shame because poor Moniz really did just want to help people.