Historical Nonfiction

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The ancient Tibetans practiced brain surgery. A description of the procedure was found in the 2,900-year-old Tibetan Tripitaka, a collection of Buddhist texts passed down orally for thousands of years before being recorded in Sanskrit during the third century B.C. The text also suggests that craniotomies (when a bone flap is temporarily removed to allow the doctor to touch the brain) were done for medical, and not religious, reasons. In other words, the Tibetans knew what they were doing and weren’t trying to let out “demons” or something like that.

The ancient Tibetans practiced brain surgery. A description of the procedure was found in the 2,900-year-old Tibetan Tripitaka, a collection of Buddhist texts passed down orally for thousands of years before being recorded in Sanskrit during the third century B.C. The text also suggests that craniotomies (when a bone flap is temporarily removed to allow the doctor to touch the brain) were done for medical, and not religious, reasons. In other words, the Tibetans knew what they were doing and weren’t trying to let out “demons” or something like that.

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