The pathophysiology of mental illness and its relationship to the frontal lobe were subjects of immense interest in the latter half of the 19th century. Numerous studies emerged during this time on cortical localization and frontal lobe theory, drawing upon various ideas from neurology and psychiatry. Reflecting the intense interest in this region of the brain, the 1935 International Neurological Congress in London hosted a special session on the frontal lobe. Among other presentations, Yale physiologists John Fulton and Carlyle Jacobsen presented a study on frontal lobectomy in primates, and neurologist Richard Brickner presented a case of frontal ablation for olfactory meningioma performed by the Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Walter Dandy. Both occurrences are said to have influenced Portuguese neurologist Egas Moniz (1874–1955) to commence performing leucotomies on patients beginning in late 1935. Here the authors review the relevant events related to frontal lobe theory leading up to the 1935 Neurological Congress as well as the extent of this meeting’s role in the genesis of the modern era of psychosurgery.
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Lillian B. Boettcher and Sarah T. Menacho
Lillian B. Boettcher, Phillip A. Bonney, Adam D. Smitherman, and Michael E. Sughrue
Of the multitude of medical and psychiatric conditions ascribed to Hitler both in his lifetime and since his suicide in April 1945, few are more substantiated than parkinsonism. While the timeline of the development of this condition, as well as its etiology, are debated, there is clear evidence for classic manifestations of the disease, most prominently a resting tremor but also stooped posture, bradykinesia, micrographia, and masked facial expressions, with progression steadily seen over his final years. Though ultimately speculation, some have suggested that Hitler suffered from progressive cognitive and mood disturbances, possibly due to parkinsonism, that affected the course of events in the war. Here, the authors discuss Hitler’s parkinsonism in the context of the Third Reich and its eventual destruction, maintaining that ultimately his disease had little effect on the end result.
Joshua D. Burks, Andrew K. Conner, Phillip A. Bonney, Chad A. Glenn, Cordell M. Baker, Lillian B. Boettcher, Robert G. Briggs, Daniel L. O’Donoghue, Dee H. Wu, and Michael E. Sughrue
The orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) is understood to have a role in outcome evaluation and risk assessment and is commonly involved with infiltrative tumors. A detailed understanding of the exact location and nature of associated white matter tracts could significantly improve postoperative morbidity related to declining capacity. Through diffusion tensor imaging–based fiber tracking validated by gross anatomical dissection as ground truth, the authors have characterized these connections based on relationships to other well-known structures.
Diffusion imaging from the Human Connectome Project for 10 healthy adult controls was used for tractography analysis. The OFC was evaluated as a whole based on connectivity with other regions. All OFC tracts were mapped in both hemispheres, and a lateralization index was calculated with resultant tract volumes. Ten postmortem dissections were then performed using a modified Klingler technique to demonstrate the location of major tracts.
The authors identified 3 major connections of the OFC: a bundle to the thalamus and anterior cingulate gyrus, passing inferior to the caudate and medial to the vertical fibers of the thalamic projections; a bundle to the brainstem, traveling lateral to the caudate and medial to the internal capsule; and radiations to the parietal and occipital lobes traveling with the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus.
The OFC is an important center for processing visual, spatial, and emotional information. Subtle differences in executive functioning following surgery for frontal lobe tumors may be better understood in the context of the fiber-bundle anatomy highlighted by this study.