Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Henry Cotton and Bayard Holmes -- schizophrenia as an infection

Bayard Holmes
Bayard Holmes, who killed his schizophrenic son by trying to wash his intestines. Seriously. 

"Pasteur’s famous experiments in the 1860s—including his swan-necked flasks, which demonstrated that microorganisms didn’t spontaneously generate in broth—convinced much of the scientific establishment that his germ theory of disease was correct. Pasteur was so successful, in fact, that he kicked off a craze for discovering the infectious agents behind all sorts of ailments. This zeal, though, caused some scientists to search for the microbial culprits behind conditions we now know have a more complex genesis—such as schizophrenia and other psychiatric illnesses.
Two such investigators—Bayard Holmes and Henry Cotton—firmly believed that the atypical behaviors and trouble with distinguishing reality that are characteristic of schizophrenia were caused by some kind of toxin. They hypothesized that the body itself produced this toxin and that it poisoned the brain.
Holmes and Cotton independently tried to cure schizophrenia by cutting out the organs they thought were responsible for the illness. Holmes focused on intestines; Cotton also removed "teeth, tonsils, gall bladders, cervices, colons, thyroids and other body parts," according to the Journal of Medical Biography."

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