May 1962

Adrenocortical Activity in Relation to the Severity of Schizophrenia

Author Affiliations

The Department of Psychiatry and The Neuropsychiatric Institute, UCLA Medical Center.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1962;6(5):384-387. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1962.01710230052005

Reports indicating that schizophrenic patients exhibited increased adrenocortical activity,1 decreased activity,2 or normal activity3 may be found in the literature. In an earlier report4 from this laboratory an attempt was made to resolve this controversy. A study of 96 hospitalized psychotic patients revealed no significant difference from normals in the various reflectors of adrenocortical activity measured. However, in the course of the study, a significant correlation between those various measures of adrenocortical activity and severity of illness as measured by psychological and psychiatric parameters* was obtained. These findings suggested that one source of error leading to the conflicting reports may have been different levels of severity of illness in the patient groups selected.

The purpose of the experiment reported here was, therefore, to test the hypothesis that more severely ill patients demonstrate lower adrenocortical activity than less severely

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