During the 20th century, only two persons have been awarded the Nobel Prize for psychiatric discoveries, Julius Wagner-Jauregg in 1927 for the introduction of malaria inoculation in dementia paralytica and Egas Moniz in 1949 for prefrontal leucotomy. According to traditional narrative, Moniz was inspired by a presentation by Carlyle Jacobsen on prefrontal lesions in chimpanzees at a congress in London in 1935. A few months later, he performed the first operations with the help of a young neurosurgeon. These leucotomies were done using injections of a small amount of alcohol into each frontal lobe through a single burr hole on each side of the skull, and the findings from the first 20 patients were published soon after that in 1936. It has, however, been difficult to reconstruct the path leading Moniz to frontal leucotomy, due to his unwillingness to acknowledge contributions from others. Maurice Ducosté, psychiatrist at Villejuif in Paris, France, started his work with psychiatric patients in the early 1920s with mechanical lesions in schizophrenia and continued with injections into the frontal lobes. Later, he focused on general paresis of the insane in neurosyphilis. Here, he introduced injections of malaria-infested blood into the frontal lobes – cerebral impaludation. Injections were used also in schizophrenia, mania, melancholia, and other psychiatric conditions. These injections were up to 5 mL in volume and could be repeated up to 12 times in an individual patient, which must have created significant lesions. Ducosté performed his procedure in hundreds of psychiatric patients before Moniz attempted leucotomy, and his work was presented in several publications before that by Moniz. Moniz basically used the same entry point, target depth, and technique in his first leucotomies. The major difference was that Moniz used alcohol with the clear intent of producing a lesion. Further, Moniz must have been aware of the work of Ducosté, since they presented papers, one after the other, at a meeting of the French Academy of Medicine in 1932. Even so, Moniz never acknowledged any contribution by Ducosté. In my opinion, it would be appropriate to acknowledge the contribution of Maurice Ducosté to the introduction of lobotomy.
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