Document Detail

History and evidence-based medicine: lessons from the history of somatic treatments from the 1900s to the 1950s.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  11256729     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
This paper examines the early history of biological treatments for severe mental illness. Focusing on the period of the 1900s to the 1950s, I assess the everyday use of somatic therapies and the science that justified these practices. My assessment is based upon patient records from state hospitals and the contemporaneous scientific literature. I analyze the following somatic interventions: hydrotherapy, sterilization, malaria fever therapy, shock therapies, and lobotomy. Though these treatments were introduced before the method of randomized controlled trials, they were based upon legitimate contemporary science (two were Nobel Prize-winning interventions). Furthermore, the physicians who used these interventions believed that they effectively treated their psychiatric patients. This history illustrates that what determines acceptable science and clinical practice was and, most likely will, continue to be dependent upon time and place. I conclude with how this history sheds light on present-day, evidence-based medicine.
J T Braslow
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Historical Article; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Mental health services research     Volume:  1     ISSN:  1522-3434     ISO Abbreviation:  Ment Health Serv Res     Publication Date:  1999 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2001-03-20     Completed Date:  2001-05-17     Revised Date:  2004-11-17    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9815815     Medline TA:  Ment Health Serv Res     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  231-40     Citation Subset:  IM    
UCLA Department of Psychiatry, VISN 22 Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Los Angeles, California, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Biological Psychiatry / history
Evidence-Based Medicine
History, 20th Century
Mental Disorders / history*,  therapy
Psychiatric Somatic Therapies / history*,  methods

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