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June 1934


Author Affiliations

New Haven, Conn.

From the Department of Psychiatry, Yale University.

Arch NeurPsych. 1934;31(6):1283-1291. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1934.02250060169013

Many of the more recent studies on the barbiturates indicate that this group of agents acts primarily on the brain stem and particularly on the hypothalamic area, rather than on the cortex and other tissues. E. and J. Keeser1 demonstrated by chemical analysis of the brains of animals killed during narcosis with barbital and dial that there is a concentration of these drugs in the thalamus and corpus striatum, whereas little or none can be detected in the cortex, medulla or cerebellum.

Pick2 gathered the following indirect evidence that the barbiturates act chiefly on the brain stem. They produce: a retention of water; a disturbance of the heat-regulating mechanism, resulting in a fall in temperature that is often followed by fever; constriction of the pupils; increase in cardiac rate, and other symptoms of disturbance of the vegetative nervous system. He suggested that the anesthetic sleep is produced by

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