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Cholinesterase Activity of Whole Blood from Healthy and Schizophrenic Individuals


THE results of work presented here were obtained in connexion with a programme of Rh determination of the employees in the Veterans Administration Hospital when a concurrent analysis of their blood cholinesterase activity was being made. As a corollary to the examination of difference of blood cholinesterase activity between normal and schizophrenic individuals, a statistical assessment of the influence of age, sex, and race on the cholinesterase activity was also performed. This communication was prompted partly by the need for additional information concerning cholinesterase activity of whole blood in schizophrenics and partly by the controversy raised by the data and interpretation obtained from a small number of patients by Rubin1, suggesting that “acetyl cholinesterase inbalance may be a biochemical concomitant of the so-called ‘functional psychosis’.” This work received immediate criticism2 which was then answered by Rubin3 without, however, additional supporting evidence. Recently, Ellman4 found no difference on the basis of erythrocyte acetylcholinesterape levels between healthy and mentally ill persons. The available results on serum cholinesterase activity in mental diseases are equally at variance with one another5,6. Of interest is the extensive work of Kalow et al.1 on a genetic approach to the correlation of human serum cholinesterase to various factors.

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GAL, E. Cholinesterase Activity of Whole Blood from Healthy and Schizophrenic Individuals. Nature 198, 1118–1119 (1963).

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