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April 1953


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Surgery, Indiana University School of Medicine.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1953;69(4):436-449. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1953.02320280024003

AMONG the earliest reports linking athyreosis in adulthood to changes in mental functioning are those of Blaise1 and White.2 Since those reports a number of papers have appeared citing instances of mild and severe mental breakdown and neurotic and psychotic development associated with myxedema. Writing in 1944, Zondek and Wolfsohn3 reported:

The most impressive association of mental and endocrine affections... is encountered in hypothyroid patients.... So far no definite myxœdema psychosis has been established, but slowness and slackness of mental reactions, and a lack of emotional response which may amount to complete lethargy, are obvious in almost every case.

They described an instance of a 23-year-old woman with myxedema of 18 months' duration who showed mental changes characteristic of schizophrenia (hallucinatory psychosis). With treatment for hypothyroidism, this patient recovered completely from the psychological disturbance in two weeks. Zondek and Wolfsohn expressed the belief that the improvement was