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Tuesday, July 28, 2015   10:26 AM   |   91°F

Surgery

This Month in History: Putting Mind over Matter

Ever been hypnotized? While it may not make you cluck like a chicken, as an alternative therapy, medical hypnosis might help you manage and overcome a number of physical and mental conditions. In the fall of 1959, a few brave medical students were willing to put their bodies and minds at the mercy of LSU Medical School Professor of psychiatry Dr. Carl L. Davis for the purpose of studying the viability of hypnotherapy. Later, the students would be given the opportunity to reverse the stakes and hypnotize Dr. Davis in the spirit of fairness.

The American Medical Association officially backed medical hypnosis for wide use in 1958, though they cautioned against using the method as a form of entertainment and in cases of severe psychological illness. At that time, medical and dental practices used hypnotherapy as a form of anesthesia and in the management of pain. Other fields of medicine that have found use for hypnotherapeutic procedure include dermatology, gastroenterology, cardiology, obstetrics, oncology, post-surgery recovery, and even in the treatment of smoking addiction, eating disorders, and psychosomatic illness through age regression.

While many remain skeptical about the efficacy of hypnotherapy, it is true that more research and standardization of practice will provide insight into the relative benefits and risks of its usage. Dangers to the patient and the doctor are a considerable cause for concern. The mind, being a vast and complex entity, requires a delicate but firm touch. Hypnotism provides the therapist with the ability to wield the power of suggestion over the patient, and so puts the receptive patient in a vulnerable position. For this reason, the move toward more holistic treatment of the individual is vital in addressing his or her needs.

A 1959 Times-Picayune article relates the case of a man who developed asthma every time his mother-in-law would announce her intention to visitÔÇöÔÇ£This man just cannot understand why this would happen since he honestly believes he is fond of [her].ÔÇØ This is an example of a symptom that could possibly benefit from hypnotherapy (or else a nice, long vacation).

Accounts of hypnotism can turn grim, however. In another instance, a patient suffering from self-destructive tendencies developed paralysis in one of her fingers. She was referred to a hypnotist, who alleviated the symptom without addressing the underlying psychological turmoil. Upon release, the woman promptly employed her newly-flexible trigger finger in one final act of self-harm. This is an extreme example, but speaks to the necessity of treating the patient as a whole and of recognizing links between physical and mental manifestations of illness.

The prominent physicians mentioned in these newspaper articles were Professors of psychiatry at LSU Medical School: Dr. Carl L. Davis, Dr. Lucio Gatto, and Dr. Charles Watkins, who also served as the Head of the department. All of them make a few appearances in our Digital Collections as subject and even creator. Dr. Davis appears for his addresses on teen drinking and middle-age rebellion. Dr. Gatto appears for his study on compulsive borrowing. Dr. Watkins is the most prolific figure for his interest in the history of the U. S. Army 64th General Hospital, which has its own Collection, as well as for his medical-cultural mission to Central America, and his role in the care (and commitment) of former Governor Earl K. Long.

Now a far cry from its historic roots in mesmerism and animal magnetism, the current practice of medical hypnosis can be aligned more closely with deep meditation and positive thinking, the power of which is widely acknowledged by doctors and patients alike.

Glimpse of the Past is an ongoing project to promote the Louisiana Digital Library effort. This Month in History will present for your reading pleasure a closer look into a newspaper clipping of note from our Digital Collections and articles relating to the LSU Medical School.

 

Rowena Spencer at age 91

Retired faculty member Rowena Spencer is back in the American Medical Student Association blog, On Call, on the occasion of her 91st birthday which will be July 3rd.

In the News: Runny Nose or CSF Leak

Making the internet rounds is this story, of a Tucson Mom who had been leaking cerebral spinal fluid for four months before it was caught. Endoscopic surgery at the University of Arizona repaired the cracks in her sphenoid sinus and stopped the gushing.

Using Citrus to Teach Surgical Technique

NPR has a report on their health blog about an innovative (and inexpensive) way to teach laproscopic surgical technique using clementines.?á I’m sure satsumas would work just as well in Louisiana.

Surgery without Sutures?

Yesterday i09, a blog that focuses on the fascinating world of futurism, shed light on a medical marvel- Poloxmer 407.

According to the blog post (information pulled from the full-text article in Nature Medicine) doctors and engineers at Stanford have developed the use of Poloxmer 407 as a way to join blood vessels after surgery- all without the need for sutures.

It seems Poloxmer 407 starts off in liquid form but once heated to a few degrees above body temperature the liquid becomes a cohesive solid.

Pretty awesome right?

To read more visit the full article in Nature Medicine.

Link to the pdf of the article is available to LSUHSC faculty, staff & students. It can be accessed off-campus with a valid LSUHSC library barcode & PIN. You can find more information at our remote access webpage.

FDA’s Scoop on Silicone

Today the FDA highlighted various resources regarding Breast Implants on their website.

The information is available to encourage continuous education for those who have already undergone forms of breast augmentation, in addition to providing authoritative information for those considering Breast Implants.

Within this page readers can find a link to the Update on the Safety of Silicone Gel-Filled Breast Implants (2011) – Executive Summary that supplies interesting facts about ÔÇ£Preliminary data from the post-approval studies; a summary and analysis of adverse events reported to FDA since approval; and a review and analysis of recent clinical publications about the safety and effectiveness of silicone gel-filled breast implants.ÔÇØ

Even though this procedure has been around for quite a while it is good to know that current resources are available.

Local Surgeons & the Oil Spill

WWL-TV featured a story on a couple of local surgeons, including LSUHSC’s own Kamran Khoobehi offering some ideas on how to stop the oil leak, using surgical techniques. Love the out of the box thinking!