Moniz who was born in Portugal, studied medicine in the University of Coimbra and neurology in Bordeaux and Paris. He returned to the University of Coimbra as Chairman of Neurology but he entered politics and served as minister of Foreign Affairs and later as Ambassador to Spain. He left politics, returned to the University of Coimbra where he conceived visualization of cerebral blood vessels by roentgenography. The medium he developed with comparative safety was sodium iodide. When colloidal thorium dioxide was developed he followed up this lead for cerebral angiography to visualize intracranial tumor, vascular abnormalities, aneurysms. He also developed frontal leucotomy for psychology. Both cerebral angiography and psychosurgery have given him lasting fame.

Return to the index