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November 1967

Corticosteroids in Depressive Illness: II. A Longitudinal Psychoendocrine Study

Author Affiliations

New York
From the Psychoendocrine Research Laboratory and the Center for Clinical and Metabolic Studies of Affective Disorders, Massachusetts Mental Health Center, and the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston. Dr. Sachar is now at Montefiore Hospital and Medical Center, Bronx, NY, and at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967;17(5):554-567. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1967.01730290042006

THIS PAPER will report a longitudinal psychoendocrine study of three parameters of adrenal cortical function in 20 patients hospitalized for depressive illness. The focus of the research was on the question, is adrenal cortical activity characteristically affected in depressive illness? The preceding paper, reviewing the literature on this subject, concluded that most of the reported data was difficult to interpret because of failure to control for significant factors, such as response to admission to the hospital milieu, interfering medications, and selection of appropriate control comparison data. The present study was designed to reexamine the problem of adrenal cortical function in depressed patients under more rigorously controlled conditions.

Methods of Procedure  The basic design was to assess the psychiatric state and measure urinary corticosteroids for three 72-hour periods during depressive illness and for two 72-hour periods following recovery in 20 depressed patients hospitalized on