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May 1957

The Convulsive Threshold in Schizophrenia

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1957;77(5):528-532. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1957.02330350094014

Interest in the convulsive threshold of schizophrenics was aroused by Gastaut in 1950, when he postulated a "thalamic factor" in schizophrenia after finding a lowered "myoclonic threshold" in persons with known diencephalic organic lesions and in 70% of schizophrenics.1 These findings were supported by observations of Bickford and Daly2 but not by those of Kershman.3 Complications and ambiguity in the method of measurement were reported.4,5 With controls for these factors, a new study was begun by Leiberman and Hoenig, and by 1953 it seemed that only catatonics had a low threshold and that the threshold varied with the clinical state of the patient.6,7 The low threshold was interpreted as "a tendency of a presumed diencephalic neuronal system to discharge more readily than in normal individuals."6 Chamberlain reported no change in threshold during remission of the illness and felt that the threshold was determined by