Evidence shows brain surgery performed thousands of years ago

Nowadays, it is perfectly normal to check a doctor's credentials and experience, especially before undergoing a surgical procedure. Thousands of years ago, however, people were unable to look up the Google expert's name - and that didn't stop them from going through procedures like brain surgeries.

Everyone knows that our ancestors were capable of various healing works, especially using medicinal herbs to their advantage. What many people are unaware of, however, is that humans have been performing far more advanced procedures when needed.

A procedure called "trepanation", which consists in drilling the skull, was already done by different civilizations, from South America to North Asia, at various stages of human history.

Paleontologists have found over 1, 500 Neolithic skulls with holes in the bones of the head. This is about 5 to 10 percent of all skulls dug up, a number high enough to suggest to experts that drilling the head was far more common than it is today.

It is even possible to argue: who guarantees that the holes were drilled in life and would not be precisely the cause mortis of the deceased? The detail is that these skulls show signs of bone growth at the edges of the holes, indicating that the person remained alive for a long time after they were made.

If this fashion catches on ...

Make room for the escape of evil spirits, drive away madness, send away evil thoughts. The range of possible reasons for performing such procedures is vast considering that even today there are people who believe that drilling the skull can help solve some problems and pain.

The truth is that even anthropologists and palentologists, associated with physicians of different specialties, are still not sure what motivated these procedures.

The main bet is that they used this technique to treat conditions such as migraines, headaches and seizures.

Religious or power rituals would be the second hypothesis, as in some cultures the holes were located in different areas of the skull - in some, beside the head; in others behind, almost on top of it. See ... If surviving brain surgery these days is already quite incredible, imagine in the Neolithic period!

It is also possible that each society and civilization had their own reasons, which would be different according to location.

Another intriguing point is who was behind these procedures. Could anyone perform this technique or were they more skilled people? The second alternative seems more appropriate, since research by analyzing skulls that went through burrowing at different periods found that operations between 400 and 200 BC had a survival rate of 40%, which evolved to between 75% and 85% over the next 16 centuries.

If we consider that the first neurosurgery in the way it is performed now - with anesthesia, advanced technology and sterilization - only started in the late 19th century, it is amazing that the success rate thousands of years ago was not much closer to zero!


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