November 1958

The Oxidative Activity of Blood Serum in Schizophrenic and Manic-Depressive Psychoses

Author Affiliations

Waverley, Mass.

From the Laboratory of Clinical Physiology, McLean Hospital.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1958;102(5):790-794. doi:10.1001/archinte.1958.00260220106010

Oxidative processes in schizophrenia are currently being studied in many laboratories because some authors have speculated that hallucinations and other symptoms of schizophrenia might be caused by substances produced during possibly abnormal oxidation of epinephrine in schizophrenic patients. Akerfeldt1 recently described a test that measures the oxidative power of serum; this test depends on the time that it takes for a red color to appear in serum after the addition of N,N'-dimethyl-pphenylenediamine, a substance that turns red when oxidized. Akerfeldt reported that serum from schizophrenic patients oxidized this substance very rapidly, whereas serum from normal subjects oxidized it slowly. However, he also noted that both normal pregnancy and chronic infection likewise caused abnormally rapid oxidation of N,N'dimethyl-p-phenylenediamine. Nevertheless, some observers have accepted the test as useful in the diagnosis of mental disease. On the other hand, Horwitt et al.2 found the test to be without value, and Angel et al.3

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