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November 1958

Autonomic Dyspraxia: An Hypothesis for the Mechanism of Psychosis, Neurosis and Psychosomatic Disease

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1958;80(5):597. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1958.02340110067009

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


The author of this little book believes that most physicians do not pay enough attention to the many symptoms caused by abnormal functioning of the autonomic nervous systems, which he calls autonomic "dyspraxia" or "malfunction." He points out the variety of such symptoms seen in neurosis, psychosis, epilepsy, migraine, endocrine disorders, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma. These the reader can readily accept on clinical experience. But when he begins to talk of the autonomic malfunction as the cause, one becomes wary, looks for the evidence, and finds that only opinions are given, and these rather too glibly. For example, he calls rheumatoid arthritis "asthma of the joints," presumably because it might be caused by spasm of vascular smooth muscle. And when he goes on to claim that epilepsy is caused by spasm of cerebral arteries, one realizes that he cannot be familiar with the careful work of the last 25