He is also known as the developer of prefrontal leucotomy (now better known as a lobotomy) for which he received a Nobel Prize in 1949 (shared with Swiss physiologist Walter Rudolf Hess (1881-1973) 1 for his work on the neurophysiology of the diencephalon and its role in the autonomic control of the organs).
He was born on 19th November 1874 in Avanca on the Northern coast of Portugal, on his family's ancestral estates. He was christened Antonio Caetano de Abreu Freire. When he was older his godfather, gave him the name Egas Moniz, after a renowned Portuguese patrician, who had once tutored the King of Portugal 3.
He studied medicine at the University of Coimbra, the oldest university in Portugal. He later went to France for postgraduate training in neurology and psychiatry. He returned home in 1911 to head the new department of neurology at the University of Lisbon. He stayed there until until his retirement in 1944.
Development of cerebral angiography
In 1926 he started his experiments on cerebral angiography and presented the results at a conference in Paris in 1927. He was the first person to visualise the vessels of the brain using radiologic contrast media and this led to the development of cerebral angiography.
He published two books on cerebral angiography in 1938 and 1940.
Moniz was a brilliant polymath with interests ranging from mathematics, history, music, painting and writing, to politics.
He was a writer, speaker, and had a distinguished political career beyond medicine, serving as an MP from 1900 and as Portugal's ambassador to Spain. He retired from politics at age 51 (in 1925) in order to more fully pursue research in neurology 3. Other than cerebral angiography, his main research interests were in Parkinson disease, battle trauma neurology, and clinical neurology.
He died on December 13th 1955, at the age of 81, from a catastrophic abdominal haemorrhage.
- pioneering work on cerebral angiography
- Egas Moniz Museum and art collection
- numerous books including autobiographical writings
- political contributions
- 1. Shampo MA, Kyle RA, Steensma DP. Walter Hess—Nobel Prize for work on the brain. (2011) Mayo Clinic proceedings. 86 (10): E49. doi:10.4065/mcp.2011.0560 - Pubmed
- 2. Buzzi A. Egas Moniz. Invisible Light. 2004;20(Jan):5-24.
- 3. Tan SY, Yip A. António Egas Moniz (1874-1955): Lobotomy pioneer and Nobel laureate. (2014) Singapore medical journal. 55 (4): 175-6. Pubmed
Related Radiopaedia articles
History of radiology
- key milestones
- 1895: Wilhelm Roentgen detects x-rays
- 1896: Antoine Henri Becquerel discovers radioactivity
- 1896: Sydney Rowland founds the first radiology journal, Archives of Clinical Skiagraphy
- 1896: Thomas Edison invents the first commercially-available fluoroscope
- 1898: Marie Curie publishes her paper 'Rays emitted by uranium and thorium compounds'
- 1913: Albert Salomon commences research leading to mammography
- 1927: Egas Moniz develops cerebral angiography
- 1934: Frederic and Irene Joliot-Curie artificially produce radioisotopes
- 1936: John Lawrence uses phosphorus-32 to treat leukaemia
- 1939: Kitty Clark publishes Clark’s Positioning in Radiography
- 1950s: David Kuhl invents Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
- 1953: Sven-Ivar Seldinger develops his famous technique
- 1957: Ian Donald invents fetal ultrasound
- 1964: Charles Dotter introduces image-guided intervention
- 1965: Benjamin Felson publishes his Principles of Chest Roentgenology
- 1972: Godfrey Hounsfield introduces the CT scanner (co-developed with Allan Cormack)
- 1977: Ray Damadian builds the first commercial MRI scanner
- 2005: Frank Gaillard creates Radiopaedia.org :)
- 2012: inaugural International Day of Radiology
- key figures in the history of radiology
- Antoine Henri Becquerel
- Kathleen "Kitty" Clark
- Allan M Cormack
- Marie Curie
- Ray V Damadian
- Ian Donald
- Charles T Dotter
- Thomas A Edison
- Charles Thurstan Holland
- Godfrey N Hounsfield
- Frederick Joliot
- Irene Joliot-Curie
- David E Kuhl
- Paul C Lauterbur
- Peter Mansfield
- Egas Moniz
- Wilhelm C Roentgen
- Sven-Ivar Seldinger
- Albert Soiland
- Florence Stoney
- important figures in the history of radiology
- Nobel Prize winners in radiology
- history of modalities
- plain radiography
- nuclear medicine
- Anger camera
- interventional radiology
- interventional neuroradiology
- history of radiology journals
- history of radiology organisations
- United Kingdom
- United States
- pioneering radiology books