Since the classical observations made by Addison on disturbances occurring in patients suffering from adrenocortical insufficiency, various neurological and mental alterations have suggested that the vital hormones are essential for normal function of the central nervous system. The mental changes in these patients consist among others of irritability, unexplained bursts of anger, disturbed sleep with nightmares, depression, periods of amnesia and unreality, and occasionally hallucinations and paranoid psychosis.1-4 Some of the patients exhibit motor and sensory disturbances, changes in reflexes, pupillary and visual abnormalities, drowsiness, and confusion, which is occasionally accompanied by convulsions.1-3 Among other abnormalities described in hypoadrenalism are slowing of the EEG in patients1,2,5,6 and experimental animals7 and an increase in brain excitability of the latter,8,9 as determined by the threshold for electrically induced seizures.
Various metabolic derangements in the central nervous system have been described in hypoadrenalism,9 but there is very
FELDMAN S. Electrophysiological Alterations in Adrenalectomy: Changes in Brain Stem Conduction, Excitability, and Sensitivity to Anesthesia in Adrenalectomized Cats. Arch Neurol. 1962;7(5):460–470. doi:10.1001/archneur.1962.04210050096011
Coronavirus Resource Center
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.