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June 28, 1965

Lumbar Puncture Headache May Be Psychosomatic

JAMA. 1965;192(13):32-34. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080260076041

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The principal cause of postlumbar puncture headache is apparently psychosomatic, an Army investigator reported.

Capt Gerald Kaplan, MC, USA, based his conclusion, primarily, on a double-blind study he conducted of headache complaints following lumbar puncture and sham puncture.

Kaplan is chief, Clinical Research Section, Research and Development Service, Letterman General Hospital, San Francisco.

Subjects of the study were 100 inmate-volunteers, ages 20 to 50 years, from the California Medical Facility. They were screened to exclude those with histories of neurological disorders, major psychiatric disorders, or chronic headache.

Lumbar puncture was performed on 50 of the volunteers, using the recommended safeguards to minimize the incidence of postpuncture headache. These measures included use of a 22 gauge needle, removal of only 3 to 5 cc of fluid, and advice to the subject to remain in bed for at least four hours following the procedure.

Despite these precautions, 14 of the 50 subjects

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