A Brief History of Abnormal Psychology

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  Psychology is the science of behavior. The science of normal behavior was studied extensively by Wilhelm Wundt of Germany. He wrote many versions of a text called Physiological Psychology. The original was in German, but I read the 1904 English translation.


  Wundt and Kraepelin were contemporaries, both German. Wundt studied normal behavior, while Kraepelin, a psychiatrist, studied the abnormal. Both became famous, and both were prolific writers. Kraepelin became more famous because of his nosology (classification) of mental disorders.

Franz Nissl

  The psychiatrist and neuropathologist Franz Nissl worked with Kraeplin. Kraepelin wrote psychiatry textbooks, whereas Nissl developed a stain which was named after him. Also the Nissl bodies, important parts of the cell, were named after him. Nissl found these in the brain.

Known Physical Diseases

  There are a lot of known physical diseases that present with psychiatric symptoms. One is acute intermittent porphyria, which presents with anxiety, insomnia, lability of mood, depression, and psychosis. This disease is known to have a blockage of tryptophan metabolism due to the failure of a key enzyme. This results in tryptophan accumulation in the brain. It seems that this enzyme requires heme, which is lacking in porphyria. In my opnion these facts give important clues to the metabolic errors in mental disease.

  Another known physical disease is hypoglycemic encephalopathy, also called low blood sugar. This does a number on the brain because the brain depends very heavily on glucose for fuel. Symptoms seen include sweating, tachycardia (abnormal heart rate), apprehension, restlessness, confusion, hallucinations, etc. These symptoms are similar to those seen in AIP, possibly because in AIP the brain may be burning tryptophan for fuel instead of glucose. The brain is designed to run on glucose, and only burns amino acids in an emergency.

  Adrenal disorders also present with psychiatric symptoms (as well as physical symptoms). Because of these facts I formulated the theory that in mental illness amino acids are flooding the brain, causing a disruption of glucose metabolism. 

Mesa Castillo

  Mesa Castillo of Havana found giant platelets in schizophrenia. He claims that this was not due to medication. He also found glycogen accumulation in the schizophrenic platelets, suggesting a slowing of glucose metabolism.

Serologic Fractions in Schizophrenia

  In 1963 a book was pcalled “Serologic Fractions in Schizophrenia”. This book did not become a best seller because it was very technical. However, I claim that the book was a gem. It was edited by R. G. Heath of Tulane University in New Orleans. It was published in New York by Hoeber. In this book is a chapter by Dr. Ruth Geiger demonstrating an unknown toxic serum factor.

Geiger (1963)

  Geiger studied “cortical brain tissue in culture”. This technique was later used in the Soviet Union with success. Geiger found that adrenochrome was vert toxic to the cultures. It “causes chromatolysis within several hours”. This same finding has been reported in schizophrenia.

  The “serum from untreated schizophrenic patients” was added to a tissue culture. “During the first few days, the Nissl substance increases.” The Nissl substance houses amino acids for the manufacture of proteins. “Nissl particulates appear around the nuclear membrane.” This means that the cell has been activated.

  “… transfer of material from glia to the neurons becomes more evident.” This appears to mean that the neurons are over-eating some macronutrients.

  After 72 hours “the Nissl particulates become smaller and more diffuse and tend to disappear”. This is tigrolysis. This would be explained if amino acids were flooding the cells and destroying the Nissl bodies.


  “… phenol-red-colored substances were seen to be gradually taken up by sucker feet of astrocytes and drawn up through their processes into the cell body. Subsequently the whole astrocyte can take on a pinkish color.” This is abnormal.

  “None of the free astrocytes or other glial elements normally take up this color.” This suggests a weakening of the blood-brain barrier. Similar results were reported by Heath using a cat brain assay and the dye trypan blue.


  There appears to be a toxic blood fraction in schizophrenia. This fraction appears to cause amino acids to flood the cells. In order to restore proper metabolism a diet very low in amino acids is suggested. Geiger called the toxin “taraxein”, a name coined by Dr. Robert heath of New Orleans. “Taraxein” is in the serum of schizophrenics.


1. http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.jsp?articleId=281474977237909.

2. http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.jsp?articleId=281474977240873.

3. www.associatedcontent.com/article/499417/psychiatric_drug_side_effects.html.

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