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December 1953

COLD PRESSOR TEST IN FUNCTIONAL PSYCHIATRIC SYNDROMES

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1953;70(6):794-801. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1953.02320360109008
Abstract

IN RECENT years much work has accumulated on the physiological reaction patterns of functionally psychotic patients in a state of homeostasis and stress. An excellent summary of this work is contained in Gellhorn's "Physiological Foundations of Neurology and Psychiatry."1 Under the headings of "Autonomic Reactions in Schizophrenia," "The Endocrines and Autonomic System in Schizophrenia," and "Cortico-Hypothalamic Relations in Schizophrenia," Gellhorn fits this accumulated evidence logically into his theories about the role which autonomic centers in the hypothalamus play in the etiology of the functional psychoses. The gist of Gellhorn's theories is that in the functional psychoses, particularly schizophrenia, there is a deficient reactivity of the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system in the hypothalamus. This deficiency may be initiated by overactivity or constitutional factors. It results in decreased blood pressure and lessened circulatory adjustment reactions, as well as in diminished muscle tone, and leads to impaired hypothalamic control

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