Blood-Histamine and Tissue-cell Anoxia in Mental Disease

Abstract

WORK in our laboratories, inter alia, has been concerned for some years with the aberrant morphology1 and physiological responses2–4 of the peripheral capillary vascular system of patients with schizophrenia and other mental disturbances. More recently, we have been concerned with the effects of these responses of the minute vasculature on the oxygenation of the adjacent tissue cells. In brief, we have found that, under conditions of increased capillary pressure, lessened local blood-oxygen saturation and capillary corpuscular flow (often with intra-vascular erythrocytic agglutination), hydration, swelling, vacuolization, granularity and other degenerative changes reminiscent of cellular cloudy swelling occur progressively in the intervascular tissue substance5. These changes reverse themselves when the vascular conditions seemingly causing them also suffer a reversal. Although these changes have been observed from time to time in healthy subjects, they are much more characteristically seen, and for much longer periods of time, in psychiatric patients, and especially in psychotics. Also, these vascular and cellular responses seem to coincide in time with significant happenings in the mental state of the patients and the dynamic variations occurring in their state of consciousness (for example, a worsening of the pathophysiology takes place when hallucinations are experienced6 or when a myoclonic seizure7 occurs in an epileptic, while an improvement in these reactions coincides with recovery or subsidence of these events).

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