Friday, March 8, 2013

Rosemary Kennedy's lobotomy

I've written a couple times about specific famous people who have hydrocephalus,rather it's a celebrity or a character. I have many more people to cover in that subject,but I'll also like to bring attention to well known people who have had some other kind of brain injury or brain surgery.Today I'll like to talk about someone from a well known family,who isn't exactly well known herself.

Her three brothers who lived passed thirty were well known politicians, her oldest brother died in the second world war. One of those brothers was John Kennedy,the thirty-fifth president of the United States who was assassinated in office. Another brother was assassinated while running for president in 1968.

Rosemary was disabled from early on in her life,possibly because of a delayed birth depriving her brain of oxygen. Her disability was intellectual,and she had a low IQ.During puberty she began to have violent mood swings that her family couldn't figure out how to control.

Now as we're learning more and more about traumatic brain injuries,we can identify these problems. We can pinpoint why certain side effects happen,and in some cases at least how we can recover from them and overcome. But this was several decades ago and very little was known about any neurological problem. Also  the Kennedy's were already popular figures,although nothing compared to who they would be a couple decades later. So how they were seen were a lot more important than most people,and again because of the lack of knowledge about TBI her family at least in a way was ashamed of her.

In order to try to control her mood swings,her father had a surgeon give her a lobotomy. A lobotomy is basically a brain operation removing part of the frontal lobe,cutting off most of the connections to the prefrontal cortex. The purpose is to help people with psychological disorders. It has become less controversial and more common in the last couple of decades. But at the time the procedure was only several years, and they hadn't figure out the "right" way of doing it. In Rosemary's case they ended up going "too deep" resulting in a much more severe disability, and wasn't able to care for herself, or perform daily functions like she had been able to do before, including even communicating effectively.

I had a hard time finding websites or blogs,either that seemed to have legit information, if anything more than basic information. It seemed like every website I've gone to lately looking for information for this blog post had different information than the other. Usually I don't like to do this, because of how the site runs it tends to not have accurate information. But I used Wikipedia just because,in this case it was my best way of getting the most accurate information for this post. Thanks for reading.

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