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November 1954

STUDIES OF 17-HYDROXYCORTICOSTEROIDS: VIII. Adrenocortical Function in Patients with Convulsive Disorder

Author Affiliations


From the Lockhart Memorial Laboratory, Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah School of Medicine.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1954;72(5):583-590. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1954.02330050053009

SEVERAL different lines of investigation have supported the concept that function of the pituitary-adrenal system is one factor operating in the production of altered states of consciousness. Mental disorders, seen in patients with Addison's disease,* have been reported to respond to treatment with desoxycorticosterone acetate (DCA), cortisone, or corticotropin (ACTH).3 On the other hand, a variety of mental disorders has been described in patients receiving corticotropin or cortisone.† In addition, numerous clinical reports indicate that patients may develop convulsions during corticotropin or cortisone treatment of apparently unrelated conditions.‡

The occurrence of convulsions during hormonal therapy is in keeping with the experimental observation that cortisone and other biologically active 17-hydroxycorticosteroids increase brain excitability in animals, as measured by the depression of the electroshock threshold.12 Additional evidence of the effect of these hormones on the electrical activity of the brain has been provided by electroencephalography. EEG abnormalities long have been