15th Century Islamic psychosurgery

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This beautiful illustration comes from a textbook called Cerrahiyetu’l Haniyye (Imperial Surgery) by Serefeddin Sabuncuoglo (1385-1470), who lived and practised medicine in Amasya in northern Anatolia.

Sabuncuoglo’s book, which was published in 1465, is the first illustrated textbook of surgery. It contains several sections devoted to the treatment of psychiatric conditions. The illustration above depicts the use of cauterization (the burning of small areas of tissue) to treat various neuroses. 

(Found via this post at Mind Hacks)

5 thoughts on “15th Century Islamic psychosurgery

  1. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1949 – Egas Moniz “for his discovery of the therapeutic value of leucotomy in certain psychoses”.
    (Adapted from http://www.nobelprize.org)
    Islamic Psychosurgery, tells us that in that time they have known sommething regarding to the Brain functions and the relation to Mental Disorders. It is impressive the fact for the knowledge of that time they have performed a “modern surgical technique” like Egas Monniz performed the leucotomy in the 1940 -1950 and won the Nobel Prize.

  2. Is there any evidence this procedure was carried out on brain tissue, or just the scalp?
    Not enough information has been provided.

  3. I think in this case the procedure was performed on the scalp only. Unfortunately, I could find precious little information about the book. Apparently, it does contain details (and perhaps illustrations) of invasive methods.

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