23 January 2019

23rd January 1934 - First Induced Seizure

Ladislas Meduna first used camphor injections to induce a seizure in a mental hospital patient. Meduna observed that epileptic seizures tended to reduce schizophrenic symptoms in patients and sought to induce seizures for their potential therapeutic effect.

In his autobiography, quoted in wikipedia, he recalls he began his treatment on 23rd January, 1934 on a severe 33-year-old catatonic patient. After just 5 treatments, catatonia was abolished and the patient sent home.

A major factor in Meduna's success was his selection of patients. Nine of the first eleven patients were in a catatonic (non responsive) state. Catatonia is apparently responsive to induced seizures.

Meduna's methods led to Cerletti and Bini's later use of electricity as a means of inducing therapeutic seizures.

Thankyou to Today in Psychology History for the date.

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