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August 1962

Cause of the Odor of a Schizophrenic Patient

Author Affiliations

Clinical Neuropharmacology Research Center and the William A. White Service, Saint Elizabeths Hospital, Washington 20, D.C.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1962;7(2):108-113. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1962.01720020032005

Introduction  Smith and Sines1 reported the demonstration of an odor present in the sweat of chronic schizophrenic patients which was not present in the sweat of nonschizophrenic patients. They used rats conditioned to the odor as well as a panel of expert odor testers to determine the presence of this odor. The demonstration of the odor confirmed earlier reports, as mentioned by the authors, relating to the peculiar odor of back wards, sometimes said to emanate specifically from patients with catatonic schizophrenia. The authors postulated that—"if there is a unique ‘odor' in the apocrine sweat or in the sebaceous secretion of schizophrenic patients, the identification of this odoriferous substance may give a clue to an inborn error of metabolism and provide an approach to an etiological explanation for at least a segment of the schizophrenic syndrome."The purpose of this study was to determine

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