Psychosurgeons “Burn Away Mental Illness,” According to Wired


In Wired, Nick Stockton writes that “psychosurgeons use lasers to burn away mental illness.” Some of the commenters on the article raise a variety of questions and concerns about this assertion.

“This is the shape of modern psychosurgery: Ablating parts of the brain to treat mental illnesses,” writes Stockton. “Which might remind you of that maligned procedure, the lobotomy. But psychosurgeries are different. And not just because the ethics are better today; because the procedures actually work.”

Stockton also writes that “neuroscientists have narrowed down the faulty wiring” involved in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder to a half-dozen places in the brain, “some of which psychosurgery can target.”

Stockton does not point to any scientific studies at any point in the article.

A non-random selection of some of the comments on the article:

Love the last sentence: “And for people who need them, psychosurgeries can be highly effective. Success rates are relatively high — about half of all patients who undergo anterior cingulotomy recover to completely normal levels of brain function.” Translation: about half of all patients can NOT recover to completely normal levels of brain function.

The trouble is their definition of “exhausting all options”.

The article mentions that people have failed at least 3 medications and a month(s) of therapy — that is an insanely low bar.

This article is so one sided that I would call it flippantly so. Disgraceful.

If it is true that most “mental illness” is in fact learned dysfunction from trauma, maybe we need a few less drills and shrinks, and a few more humane educational programs, and housing programs, and… Oh hell, check out and think about things.

madinamerica is probably the most biased and uninformed source as pertains to mental illness. It’s unfortunate that so many misinformed individuals are working hard to make it even more difficult to provide adequate care and services to those most in need of psychiatric care.

The brain is a complex, delicate and badly understood organ. Frying parts of the brain with lasers is not healing, it is just a scorched earth strategy to deal with undesirable symptoms.

That’s a broad overstatement, it’s less ‘scorched earth’ and more of a controlled burn. This isn’t a bunch of cowboys gallivanting their way through your lobes, this is some of the most precise surgery on the face of the earth.

I wonder how you would like a “controlled burn” in your brain…

Psychosurgeons Use Lasers to Burn Away Mental Illness (Wired, June 25, 2015)


  1. This is a focused lobotomy. The damaged part of the brain, connections between, will never return and they are lying about targeting just OCD, other brain functions and impulses are damaged. They are disabling parts of the brain for good, and the person will have no way to know what is missing or remaining. The brain has no error correction code. The brain continues to function even with a few severe injuries, so they don’t die right after this is done, allowing them to call it a therapy or treatment.

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