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March 1955

Intravenous Hydrocortisone, Corticotropin and the Electroencephalogram

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1955;73(3):338-344. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1955.02330090084011

Evidence continues to accumulate concerning a relationship between the adrenal-hypophyseal axis and central nervous system functioning, and this has been reviewed recently.* Clinically, the observation of patients with hyperadrenal states occurring naturally or induced by corticotropin (ACTH) and cortisone reveals occasional central nervous system aberrations manifested by nonspecific organic psychotic reactions, electroencephalographic abnormalities, and convulsions. The incidence of these reactions is unpredictable, however. For example, prolonged administration of corticotropin and cortisone has been found to produce significant alterations in the electroencephalogram in certain series † but less so in others.‡ Similarly, observations on epileptic patients have been contradictory. These hormones induced an increase in electroencephalographic abnormality and no effect on seizures in one series,9 but a reduced incidence of seizures associated with an improvement in the electroencephalogram in another group.10 However, in a series of controlled experiments using the electroshock threshold of rats, Woodbury§ has demonstrated that cerebral