History Of Split Brain Research

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Split-Brain Research History of split-brain research Walter Dandy, an American neurosurgeon unintentionally paved the way into research on split-brain patients in the 1930s. Split-Brain refers to patients who have had their corpus callosum severed to some extent or in whole. This procedure was mainly used as an extremely invasive surgical procedure within patients suffering from intractable epileptic seizures. The corpus callosum consists of over 200 million nerve fibres connecting the left and right hemispheres of the brain and enables corresponding regions to communicate. During one of Dandy’s surgeries, he had to cut through corpus callosum of a patient in order to get to an underlying pineal tumour. Following surgery, Dandy observed and performed psychological and cognitive tests and concluded that splitting the corpus callosum did not cause any changes in cognitive behaviour In the 1940s, Theordore Erickson performed experiments on monkeys, in which it became apparent that the corpus callosum plays a role in epileptic seizure spread. Neurosurgeons William Van Wagenen and R. Yorke Herren took this even further by performing and pioneering the first known callostomy – the surgical sectioning of the corpus callosum – specifically to combat epileptic seizures. Prior to and after surgery a series of tests were performed on these patients by a colleague - psychiatrist Andrew John Akelaitis. These tests included I.Q., motor skills, and memory testing and general interviews.

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