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removal of the cortex of the cerebral hemispheres. Total decortication (performed in the second half of the 19th century by the German physiologist F. Goltz on a dog) is used in experimental physiology for the purpose of studying the influences of the cortex on other structures of the central nervous system and organs.
With total decortication, higher animals show severe disturbances of behavioral reactions and of conditioned-reflex activity. The animals sleep most of the time, awaking only when there are intense stimuli associated with the simplest reflex activity (taking food, defecation, urination); when they are in the waking state, chaotic motor activity is observed. Partial decortication, the removal (extirpation) of certain parts of the cortex of the cerebral hemispheres (lobectomy, gyrectomy, topectomy), is used in experiments to study such matters as the functions of the cortex of the cerebral hemispheres and the cortical links of the analysers and in clinical practice as a neurosurgical method of treating certain organic affections and diseases associated with disturbance of cortical function. The symptom complex characteristic of partial decortication may arise as a result of trauma to any part of the cortex, in disturbances of cerebral blood circulation, and in brain tumors.
In man a phenomenon analogous to disturbances occurring in decortication may be observed in congenital anencephalia; such newborns are, as a rule, not capable of living.
IU. A. FADEEV