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Article
August 1964

Measurement of Stress in Fasting Man: A Pilot Study

Author Affiliations

LOS ANGELES
Department of Psychiatry and The Neuropsychiatric Institute, Center for the Health Sciences, University of California, and Department of Neurobiochemistry, Veterans Administration Center.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1964;11(2):113-125. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1964.01720260007002
Abstract

Introduction  This is a study of psychological, physiological, and biochemical variables associated with starvation. Although laboratory experiments on rats27-30 indicate that these animals respond to acute starvation with adrenalcortical activation, there is reason to question whether this occurs in humans and other animals. Keys10 reports that starving man has a low metabolic rate, bradycardia, hypotension, hypothermia, and great muscular weakness. A starving man typically states he is depressed and his facies suggest depression more than emaciation. He becomes increasingly quiet, somber, apathetic, and slow in motion. Although he reports increasing irritability, there is little overt indication of it. The starving man conserves energy in every possible way. Severe neurotic symptoms developed in the Minnesota Experiment11 in which 35 "normal" young men were starved. There was a full return to normal on nutritional rehabilitation. In the Minnesota Experiment neither

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