Recent research has given rise to the hope that the secretory products of the adrenal cortex might be useful in the treatment of schizophrenia.
Two main lines of research have stimulated renewed interest in the role of the adrenal cortex in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. A number of investigations have produced evidence that the responsivity of the adrenal cortex of schizophrenic patients to stress is lower than that of normal controls (Freeman et al., 1944; Hoagland et al., 1946; Pincus and Elmadjian, 1946; Pincus et al., 1949).
Another series of investigations has shown that adrenocortical activity is stimulated by insulin coma therapy, electronarcosis and electroconvulsive therapy (Hemphill and Reiss, 1942; Mikkelsen and Hutchins, 1948; Rees (1949a); Parson et al., 1949).
Cranswick and Hall (1950) reported that desoxycortone acetate and ascorbic acid appeared to be therapeutically valuable in schizophrenia. Rees and King (1951) carried out a controlled investigation on the treatment of schizophrenia with desoxycortone acetate and ascorbic acid, and found no evidence that the method was of any therapeutic value. It was pointed out that the investigation did not preclude the possibility that other products of the adrenal cortex might be therapeutically useful in schizophrenia.
The present paper describes a controlled investigation in the therapeutic value of cortisone administration in schizophrenia.
We are indebted to Dr. Ernest Evans, Consultant Physician, East Glamorgan Hospital, for making available a supply of cortisone for the investigation.