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June 1963

Decerebrate Phenomena After Carotid Amobarbital Injection

Author Affiliations

From the Neurological Unit, Boston City Hospital and the Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School.

Arch Neurol. 1963;8(6):662-675. doi:10.1001/archneur.1963.00460060092009

Introduction  The recent use of intracarotid amobarbital (Amytal) injection for determination of hemisphere dominance and site of epileptogenic focus demonstrated that the infusion causes a transient impairment in cerebral function.1-4 The brief loss of function can be associated with corresponding loss of motor activity, and this in turn can in some patients lead to release of subcortical postural mechanisms. This provides a means of comparing residual lower level integration in patients having hemiplegias of vascular or traumatic origin with that of patients manifesting extrapyramidal disorders of motor function. We sought to ascertain whether such paralysis and release symptoms could aid further understanding of the nature of spasticity and dystonia, or provide an objective measure of the activity of subcortical motor mechanisms.The group of patients tested consisted of six hemiplegics, six patients with Parkinson's disease, four patients with Huntington's chorea, one case of double athetosis, and one patient with

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