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October 1993

The Adrenal Gland and Depression

Author Affiliations

University Hospital 339 Windermere Rd London, Ontario N6A 5A5, Canada
Betsy Schaefer London, Ontario
Chapel Hill, NC

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1993;50(10):832. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1993.01820220088010

Nemeroff et al1 reported significantly increased adrenal volumes in patients with depression. We commend their sophisticated attempt. We believe, however, that the issue is still hazy and needs further clarification.

Their results, although supported by those of Zis and Zis2 and Amsterdam et al,3 are not supported by ours.4 We tried to substantiate the findings of Zis and Zis.2

Our method involved collecting adrenal weight measurements of persons who suffered sudden deaths among coroners' cases in the Province of Ontario during a 14month period. The individual coroners were "blind" to the nature of the study. We obtained the adrenal weights from five centers. We excluded all cases of known adrenal abnormalities, chronic debilitating illness, or recent use of substances that might alter the hypothalamicpituitary-adrenal axis function, such as corticosteroids, antidepressants, and alcohol. Adrenal weights were measured at the time of autopsy. The adrenal glands were

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