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1932 TUSKEGEE SYPHILIS STUDY
The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male (also known as the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, Pelkola Syphilis Study, Public Health Service Syphilis Study or the Tuskegee Experiment) was a clinical study, conducted between 1932 and 1972 in Tuskegee, Alabama, in which 399 poor — and mostly illiterate — African American sharecroppers were studied to observe the natural progression of the disease if left untreated
Campaigns Against Racist Federal Programs by the Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology
by Peter R. Breggin, M.D.
OPERATING ON LITTLE BLACK CHILDREN
As far as we know, Mark and Ervin did not perform their psychosurgery experiments on any African Americans. With more limited political aims, perhaps, another surgeon was operating on numerous black children. When I began researching the return of psychosurgery in the early 1970s, I quickly came upon the work of O.J. Andy, director of neurosurgery at the University of Mississippi-Ole Miss-in Jackson. He was publishing reports on multiple surgical interventions into the brains of small children, ages five to twelve, who were diagnosed as aggressive and hyperactive. Of his 30-40 patients, he wrote me in 1971, most were children.
Before the controversy hit the press, l phoned Andy, who told me he could not recall the race of any of the children. Later I contacted a civil rights attorney in Mississippi who was able to determine that most of them were housed in a segregated black institution for the developmentally disabled. The attorney got onto the wards, where the nurses told him with frustration that Andy had a completely free hand in picking children for psychosurgery.
In 1966 Andy described J. M., age nine, who was "hyperactive, aggressive, combative, explosive, destructive, sadistic." Over a three-year period Andy performed four separate mutilating operations involving at least six lesions with implanted electrodes. The youngster was at first said to be doing well. In a subsequent 1970 article, Andy again claimed that J. M. is no longer so combative and negative. Then he added, "lntellectually, however, the patient is deteriorating."
While Andy did not take an activist political position like Mark, Ervin and Sweet-he did tell B. J. Mason, a reporter for Ebony, that black urban rioters "could have abnormal pathologic brains" and "should undergo tests with whatever capacity we have now." Following world-wide publicity about his operations during the antipsychosurgery campaign, in 1973 a committee of his peers at the university declared his research experimental. When Andy did not establish appropriate experimental protocols, he was prohibited from operating. Andy himself declared in 1980 that he had been forced to stop operating due to "sociological pressures" in his home community.
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