Dr Ertzbichoff – Diagnosing insanity using temperature variations induced by powerful emotions
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
As described in Illustrations Of The Influence Of The Mind Upon The Body In Health And Disease, Designed To Elucidate The Action Of The Imagination - Daniel Hack Tuke, M.D., M.R.C.P.,
PART II. THE EMOTIONS.
CHAPTER VII. INFLUENCE OF THE EMOTIONS UPON SENSATION.
If certain mental states affect the temperature of the body, variations of temperature ought to be of diagnostic value in regard to the state of the mind in insanity. According to Dr. Ertzbichoff (Annales Medico-Psychologiques. Edited by Baillarger, Cerise, et Longet, September, 1865),
"Loewenhardt was enabled by this means to diagnose insanity in a case in which malingering was suspected. Dr. Westphal, who has devoted much time to the investigation of the subject, has obtained good results. The former places the thermometer in the axilla; the latter, in the rectum The coincidence of oscillations in the temperature with alternations of mental tranquillity and excitement, is of bad omen when it frequently occurs.
With some insane patients, these oscillations are regular : thus, during the days of excitement the thermometer indicated 100.8° Fahr., but never exceeded this ; during those of tranquillity the temperature fell to 98.6° — this oscillation continuing sometimes for six months. The pulse- variations are less regular; the pulse, it is true, also becomes more frequent during mental excitement, but this is due to the state of the patient, and not to a febrile condition, for this is not present.