Thursday, April 7, 2011

Schizophrenia and epilepsy

From Wikipedia

Ladislas J. Meduna (1896–1964) was a Hungarian neurologist and neuropathologist noted for his development of shock treatment for persons suffering from schizophrenia.

Meduna was born to a well-to-do family in Budapest, Hungary, in 1896. He studied medicine in Budapest from 1914 to 1921, his studies being interrupted by military service in the Italian front from 1915 to 1918.

He was appointed to the Hungarian Interacademic Institute for Brain Research, also in Budapest. He worked under the direction of Karl Schaffer. He studied the neuropathology of the structure and development of the pineal gland and of microglia, lead poisoning, and avitaminosis. In 1927 he moved to the Psychiatric Institute with Dr. Schaffer and began clinical and research work in psychopathology.

Meduna's interest in treating schizophrenia began with observations that the concentration of brain glia varied among patients who died with epilepsy (more glia than normal) and those with schizophrenia (less glia than normal). He thought that the inductions of seizures in patients with schizophrenia would increase the concentration of glia and relieve the illness. The concept was supported by reports that the incidence of epilepsy in hospitalized patients with schizophrenia was extremely low; and that a few schizophrenic patients who developed seizures after infection or head trauma, were relieved of their psychosis.

He sought ways to induce seizures in animals with chemicals; after trials with the alkaloids strychnine, thebaine, coramin, caffeine, and brucin, he settled on camphor dissolved in oil as effective and reliable. For a population with severe schizophrenia, he moved from Budapest to the psychiatric hospital at Lipotmező, outside Budapest. He began his dose-finding experiments on January 2, 1934. He was able to induce seizures in about 1/3 the first subjects. Nevertheless, three of the first 11 patients had a positive response, encouraging his work.[See Gazdag et al., 2009.] In his autobiography, he recalls the patient who began his treatment on January 23, 1934 in a severe 33-year-old catatonic patient. After just 5 treatments, catatonia and psychotic symptoms were abolished. Increasing his cases to 26 patients, Meduna achieved recovery in 10 and improvement in 3 more.

A major factor in Meduna's achievement was his selection of patients—9 of the first 11 patients were catatonic. Catatonia is a syndrome that is remarkably responsive to induced seizures. The serendipity that catatonia was considered schizophrenia made his discovery possible.

Early in his work Meduna replaced camphor with pentylenetetrazol (Metrazol), an intravenous agent that induced seizures immediately compared with the long delay of 15 to 45 minutes after intramuscular camphor.

He first published his results in 1935 and then his major text in 1937. Die Konvulsionstherapie der Schizophrenie describes the results in 110 patients. Of these patients about half recovered. The results were much better for patients who were ill less than a year compared to those who had been ill for many years.

His results were quickly reproduced in many other centers around the world and this form of therapy became widely used and recognized as the first effective[citation needed] treatment for schizophrenia. (A parallel development was insulin coma therapy.) A more facile form of induction of seizures, using electricity instead of chemicals, was developed by the Italian psychiatrists Ugo Cerletti and Lucio Bini. They treated their first patient with ECT in May 1938 and by the mid-1940s, electricity had replaced Metrazole as the induction agent.

Meduna also developed carbon dioxide therapy. The patient had to breathe a mixture of 30% carbon dioxide and 70% oxygen until becoming unconscious, the treatment being repeated several times weekly. Although it was effective in relieving obsessive-compulsive disorders[citation needed], it was not as effective as convulsive therapy, and it was abandoned.

With the increase of anti-semitism and the rise to power of National Socialism, Meduna emigrated to the USA in the following year (1938), to become Professor of Neurology at Loyola University, in Chicago. One of his last contributions to psychiatry was the study of confusional and dream-like states in psychoses (oneirophrenia). He was also a founder of the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and a President of the Society of Biological Psychiatry. After the war, he moved his research to the Illinois Psychiatric Institute, where he worked until his death in 1964.

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  1. Rossa,

    There's room for some healthy debate about the use of psychiatric drugs.

    For adults, with informed consent, the smallest amounts, for limited periods of time, in an acute crisis... The argument for some use of psychiatric drugs has a place in a healthy debate.

    ECT is a differnt story.
    ECT has no place in a civil society.

    From my friend in Austin, Dr. John Breeding of The Coalition for the Abolition of Electroshock in Texas -

    When it comes to the subject of ECT, I say, "Enough... No more!"

    Duane Sherry

  2. Duane - This post was intended as a history lesson. However, when I learned about Meduna several years ago, it got me thinking about how epilepsy and schizophrenia are related. It also ties in to assemblage point shifts. You don't need electroshock or drugs when AP can rebalance the energy in your body without inducing seizures. So can yoga, so can meditation. Any, apparently the Chinese are probably following Meduna because in the link embedded in the post, it alludes to the Chinese uses chemicals (not Electroshock) induce seizures.

  3. Rossa,

    Conventional psychiatry uses guess-work.
    Subjective guess-work... at best!

    Inducing seizures....
    Prime example.

    On the one hand, psychiatry has long-believed that inducing seizures is a good thing. On the other hand, uses anti-convulsant drugs to "treat" severe mental illness.

    On the one hand, psychiatry tries to keep dopamine out of the brain, but makes sure there is plenty in the brain as well. Somtimes, prescribing drugs in cocktai form that do both!

    Do the math.

    We know so little about the human brain.
    Very little.

    Grey matter... billions of neurons... We can identify areas of the brain that are responsible for various functions, etc...

    Yet we haven't a clue with something as simple as this question - "What is a thought?"

    We haven't a clue.
    Not really.

    What we do have are men and women who have gone to medical school, and incurred some pretty good size debt in doing so...

    They feel as though they deserve to be treated with some respect. Their fellow professionals in areas such as neurology see them for what they are - Bozos!

    They specialized in psychiatry, and were taught some very basic information about how to drug the brain into relieving symptoms, but nothing else.

    The problem is the drugs cause more harm than good in the long-run, and they have no training in anything else... Other than ECT, and/or locking someone up against their will.

    In other words, they have no medicine bag to speak of... Nothing that they've been taught that helps people heal... Deeply heal, and move on with their lives.

    There are countless therapeutic options that promote healing, such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy for trauma (to include war trauma), neurofeedback... any of the therapies that involve integration of left-brain/right-brain... Chinese meridians, etc.

    But these are not taught in conventional psychiatry... These wanna-be "doctors" are not taught how to help people heal.

    So they go back to the old... The methods that don't work... the ones that cause more harm than good.

    Whether it be making sure dopamine reception is blocked, or dopamine is held in the brain... or both! Whether it be inducing seizures, or preventing them (with brains that are not experiencing seizure disorders), or both!

    Subjective guess-work.

    "Educated" guess-work, by wanna-be "doctors, who have received very little real education!"

    "Doctors" who decided early-on to ignore the Hippocratic oath, "First, do no harm!"

    "Doctors" who continue to ignore their oath!


    Duane Sherry, M.S.

  4. Mr. Sherry,

    Let me tell you about my "bozo" of a psychiatrist.

    She does prescribe medication for me but that is not all she does.

    If all I wanted was medication I would just see a psychopharm every few months to get my prescriptions refilled and to let him or her perform a cursory physical examination to see if I was having any side effects.

    That's what psychopharms are for. Regular psychiatrists also offer psychotherapy. Not all of their patients take medication, though I do.

    When I became schizophrenic all I wanted was for her to give me something that would make the voices go away. And she tried. But it took years of trying different pills before I finally found one that worked.

    Throughout those years everyone else gave up on me. My parents took care of me but when the first few drugs I tried didn't work they lost hope that I would ever live a "real" life again.

    My psychiatrist did not. She freely admitted that no one knows why certain drugs work for some people and others work for other people. She never pretended to know more than she actually did and while I wished to be reassured, I'm glad she didn't lie to me.

    She also told me that I could try every antipsychotic known to man and that I had to accept the fact that the voices might never go away. That I needed to make a life for myself anyway.

    I have trust issues. Her honesty hurt but it hurt less than a lie would have.

    I started taking baby steps outside my parents' house. I took the bus and then the subway to her office.

    The voices were still very upsetting to hear. The said scary, filthy, obscene things to me. But I began to realize that while I was in emotional distress I was not in physical danger.

    My doctor is the one who convinced me that I could do some volunteer work. I didn't think I was fit for anything anymore but she pushed me to push myself.

    I was scared to death but I did it. And I was good at what I did! People appreciated me and I wasn't just a burden. I was capable of helping people and getting better at tuning out the voices, especially around other people.

    When I FINALLY found the drug that actually made the voices go away, I was able to increase my responsibilities considerably.

    I was abused as a child and I still have a hard time believing I deserve good things. I need her to push me to want more and to do more.

    She doesn't run my life, though. When we disagree about something I push right back!

    It feels really good to be able to do that.

    Lately she's been helping me with the abuse issues. I don't think it caused my illness, as most women with similar problems are not delusional, but I do believe it colored what the voices said to me.

    Some of the things that happened to me are too sick and ugly to talk to a "civillian" about. My mother would cry and tell me how sorry she is or get defensive and tell me to pull myself together.

    I lost friends by talking about it in the past. And I didn't even go into details with them!

    My psychiatrist knows all about the kinds of problems I've faced and am still facing. She won't cry or get physically ill if I tell her the unvarnished truth.

    Her training and experience have taught her not only how to handle it but how to help me. And, so far, she is the ONLY ONE who can and has helped me.

    The fact that I pay her for her trouble helps me, too. I don't have to feel guilty for "burdening" her like I would with anyone else because I'm giving her something in return.

    I'm not just taking.

    I've seen some bad doctors, too. The worst was not a psychiatrist but a gynecologist. She was cold, cruel and disrespectful. For no good reason.

    So I can see why some people feel burned by doctors. They are not all the same, though. Some may deserve your scorn but others do not.

    I'm sorry if I went on too long and rambled, but I wanted to stand up for one of the the good psychiatrists out there. Passionately!

  5. Ms. Forbes, Mr. Sherry, etc.,

    I ran out of room on that last post (the one about my psychiatrist) and I omitted something I shouldn't have:

    My mother is not the one who abused me (no one in my family did). She did, however, see me coming apart and failed to connect the dots.

    She failed to protect me.

    I kept this secret until I was in my twenties. I got very, VERY angry when I was manic and I berated her for failing to realize what had happened.

    I did not do this in a measured, reasoned way. I screamed, cursed, and bullied her. I made her cry. She was alternately sad and remorseful and angry and defensive.

    I love her dearly, but she can't deal with this. Not even now that I am (more or less) "normal."

    It seems to be a topic that skeeves most people out. I don't think she's in the minority.

    A read a few books for "survivors" a few years ago and decided I was "over it." I did it on my own...only I didn't.

    I thought my life would be perfect once the voices were gone and believe me, it is much, much better.

    But sanity comes with certain responsibilities. No one expected me to navigate my way through life with any precision or to have healthy relationships when I was sick but they do now.

    I want that for myself, too. More than anything.

    I can and do function, but there is a sadness in my life that can't be drugged away. This is something that really did happen and I am not "over it" at all.

    Not by a long shot.

    I am trying to work this through more consistently and diligently than I ever have before. Even though it HURTS LIKE HELL.

    My psychiatrist is putting in a lot of effort, too. More than anyone else ever has.

    I love my parents and they love me, but there are limits to love. And empathy? Don't get me started...

    Well, I don't want to repeat myself too much. I just wanted to clear up any confusion my previous post may have caused.

  6. Anon - I don't have quite the same opinion of psychiatry as Duane does. I ran the article mainly as schizophrenia history that people might be curious to know about. There are also interesting parallels I have found between energy imbalance (epilepsy) and schizophrenia. Meduna got the idea of a link between schizophrenia and epilepsy that few seem to appreciate these days.

  7. Ms. Forbes,

    It is an interesting topic. I have a relative who's suffered from severe epilepsy since she was a child.

    The medication she took as a child (phenobarbitol, I believe) was not as good as whatever it is she takes now. She had a lot of seizures in public and people said very unkind things like "these people should be put away."

    Her condidtion carried a horrible stigma and her own mother perpetuated it by making it clear that the seizures embarrassed her and reflected badly on her whole family.

    I'm almost certain that my relative has never seen a psychiatrist but her behavior has always been erratic and odd.

    I've always believed her strangeness and bouts of paranoia and hostility come from being mistreated and disrespected, but maybe there is more to it than that.

    Unfortunately, we're not close enough for me to broach the subject with her.

    I don't know anyone with schizophrenia who has had ECT. I do know a few people who have used it as a treatment for severe depression and seem to have benefitted from it.

    I have no first-hand experience to draw on, however. I guess I need to do some reading!

    Thank you for giving me the idea. I had never heard of Meduna before and I will definitely seek out some of his work.

  8. Anonymous,

    I think it's good that you've found a doctor who listens, and someone who has been able to help you. It sounds like your doctor has been a God-send in your life.

    That's a good thing. A very good thing.

    Your comment has made me question the way I communicate my disdain with psychiatry. I know that I'm guilty of painting with a broad brush, and seeing things as pretty black and white sometimes on this subject.

    I'm also a person who believes in freedom, and the right for people to make their own decisions.

    I would like to see more informed consent in psychiatry, and honesty... both with the drugmakers and prescribing doctors.

    At the end of the day however, it comes down to freedom. I talk about freedom a lot, but I think it's time I expressed it more with people with whom I disagree on the issue of psychiatric drugs... To let them know that although I personally am opposed to these drugs, I am not opposed to someone who decides to take them.

    Any person who is searching for answers, and struggling to find more health and wellness, more peace and serenity in life has got my support. This includes those who make decisions that I would not make.

    I have a tough time expressing myself in this area sometimes, and because my passions against psychiatry are so strong, my words are seen as striking out at people who make an informed decision to take psychiatric drugs.

    I still have a lot to learn... I'm a work in progress... with a long way to go. I hope you continue to find the support you need for more wellness, more peace in your life.

    My best,

    Duane Sherry

  9. Read about the Stationary Assemblage Point (SAP). Adjusting the assemblage point is a much less intrusive way (than ECT or chemicals) of rebalancing a person's energy. Here's a quote from a very interesting interview with Jon Whale.

    Schizophrenia is a split SAP?

    The pivot point jumps to extreme locations. The same with epilepsy. The epilepsy itself, the fit itself, somehow rejumps the SAP back up to its position again.

    Well any rebalancing the endocrine system will be reflected in this position of the SAP so that’s true. Doctors can find a way through chemical means to readdress the balance of the endocrine system so that the SAP will move to the centre. My observations of patients who have been receiving psychiatric medication is that their SAP has been way off and the doctors have never achieved any rebalancing of the patient’s endocrine system. They would rather have them suppressed with the endocrine system out of balance.

    So what, for example, ECT therapy. I recently watched a programme about the Second World War, people with shell shock and after the war they had been depressed for years and given ECT therapy.

    It’s very obvious to me that they had extreme mislocation of the SAP. It’s strange that by putting a voltage across the temples of the brain and such flooding the brain with electricity one wonders if this kind of, at least in some patients, has had some success to pull their SAP up but since the medical profession do not take into account the energy body and the SAP any trials they do on anything, drugs of any description for correcting mental balance are basically based on insufficient data because they haven’t established where the person was in the beginning.

  10. Mr. Sherry,

    That was a very nice post. I know how hard it is to get over bad experiences and to trust people.

    I wish you the best, too.

  11. Anonymous,

    Thank you.

    I hope you continue to find the things that work best for you!



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