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May 1957

Diagnostic Value of Blood Pressure Responses in Psychiatric Patients

Author Affiliations

London, England

From the Bethlem Royal and Maudsley Hospitals, and the Institute of Psychiatry, University of London, London, England.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1957;77(5):540-542. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1957.02330350106016

Funkenstein and his co-workers have reported extensively upon the use of the epinephrine-methacholine (Mecholyl) test as a prognostic aid in electroconvulsive therapy,1 but did not extend their early observation that the diagnostic grouping by this means was not a random one.2 Hoskins commented upon sympathetic underresponsivity in schizophrenia,3 and there are also reports of similar reduction of activity in the parasympathetic system of depressive patients.4

We therefore tested the blood pressure responses to these two drugs in patients with schizophrenia, endogenous depression, and mixed neuroses.

Method and Subjects  This method has been previously reported.5 All subjects were given epinephrine and methacholine (Mecholyl) on separate days.The 21 schizophrenics ranged in age from 16 to 49 years, with a mean of 35.1 years. The 22 patients with endogenous depression ranged in age from 26 to 56 years, with a mean of 47.9 years. The 25 patients

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