The Relationship Between Blood Sugar and Lymphocyte Levels in Normal and Psychotic Subjects*

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Abstract

A study was made of the blood sugar and lymphocyte levels of 20 normal and 35 psychotic subjects (chiefly schizophrenic) following the ingestion of two doses of 50 Gm. of glucose at 30-minute intervals. It was found:

a. In the normal subjects the blood lymphocytes and blood sugar levels varied inversely, the correlation being -.85 following the second dose of glucose.

b. In the patients the correlation was much poorer, the coefficient being -.29. Forty-three per cent of the patients showed an abnormal relationship of a positive nature.

c. The patients with the negative or “normal” lymphocyte-glucose relationship tended to include chiefly those with an ill-defined type of symptomatology, while in the group with a positive or “abnormal” relationship the psychiatric picture corresponded more clearly to the classical subtypes of schizophrenia. This difference seemed to indicate a more fluid type of symptomatology with greater preservation of the affect in the “normal” group.

d. The group with the “normal” lymphocyte-glucose relationship included chiefly those subjects with a recent period of hospitalization (median, 9 months) while the others had been hospitalized for a longer period of time (median, 5 years).

e. In general, the lymphopenic response to the administration of glucose was less pronounced in the psychotic than in the normal subjects.

It is concluded that the lesser lymphopenia and the positive or “abnormal” lymphocyte-glucose relationship indicate an adreno-cortical failure of a particular type.

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