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October 1965

Cortisol Production: III. Rubella and Varicella Encephalopathy, With a Note on Their Treatment With Steroids

Am J Dis Child. 1965;110(4):370-373. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1965.02090030390005

PHARMACOLOGIC amounts of glucocorticoid have been recommended in the treatment of patients with acute encephalopathy and postviral encephalitis. If these patients have increased cortisol production, further supplements of cortisol or its analogues might be superfluous or dangerous. We have found increased cortisol production rates (CPRs) in rubella encephalopathy.1

In the present communication, these data are compared with CPRs in varicella encephalitis. Uncomplicated varicella was studied in an attempt to help answer the question of steroid dosage in patients already receiving large amounts of glucocorticoid for treatment of other diseases, eg, leukemia. In addition, measurement of 17-hydroxycorticosteroids (17 OHCS) in both the rubella and varicella patients are presented for the first time.

Methods  CPR estimations were performed by the in vivo isotope dilution technique as previously described.2 Urinary 17 OHCS were measured by our modification2 of the method of Glenn and Nelson.3

Results  In this section, the