Psychiatric Annals

Feature Articles 

Expanding Horizons in Catatonia Research

Stanley N. Caroff, MD; Gabor S. Ungvari, MD

Abstract

In September 1869, a 41-year-old psychiatrist, Karl Ludvig Kahlbaum, who practiced at an asylum in Gorlitz, presented 2 cases of “melancholia attonita” at the joint meeting of the Psychiatry Section of the Association of German Scientists and Physicians and the German Association of Asylum Psychiatrists in Innsbruck. The journal, ”Archiv fur Psychiatrie und Nervenkrankenheiten”, summarily dismissed Kalhbaum’s presentation in two sentences: “Mr Kahlbaum reported two cases of the so-called “Melancholia attonita” which were associated with high tension of the muscles and constructed a new form of illness: Tension insanity. In the discussion that followed, however, there was hardly any inclination to extend psychiatric nomenclature in this way.”

ABOUT THE GUEST EDITORS

Stanley N. Caroff, MD, received his undergraduate degree from Columbia University before obtaining his medical degree from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. He completed his medical internship at the Roosevelt Hospital and served as a psychiatric resident at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and Montefiore Medical Center. He continued his training as a National Institute of Mental Health postdoctoral fellow in psychopharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia.

Dr. Caroff is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He is the recipient of several awards for excellence in clinical teaching, including the Earl D. Bond Award and the Blockley-Osler Award at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Nancy C.A. Roeske, MD, Certificate of Recognition for Excellence in Medical Student Education.

Currently, he is Chief of the Inpatient Psychiatric Service at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Dr. Caroff also serves as Director of the Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome Information Service, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Malignant Hyperthermia Association of the United States.

His area of research is in the neurobiology and psychopharmacology of major psychotic disorders. He is recognized as an expert in the study of neuroleptic malignant syndrome and related hyperthermic and neurotoxic disorders in psychiatry. Dr. Caroff is also a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Psychiatric Annals.

Gabor S. Ungvari, MD, graduated from Semmelweis University Medical School, Budapest, Hungary, and received his psychiatric training at the Department of Psychiatry of the same medical school. Since the 1980s, he worked in academic settings in Germany, New Zealand, and, for the past 15 years, in Hong Kong. Currently, he is Professor at the Department of Psychiatry, Chinese University of Hong Kong where he is in charge of the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Service.

Dr. Ungvari’s main research interests are in catatonia, psychopharmacology of chronic psychoses, and general psychopathology.

Abstract

In September 1869, a 41-year-old psychiatrist, Karl Ludvig Kahlbaum, who practiced at an asylum in Gorlitz, presented 2 cases of “melancholia attonita” at the joint meeting of the Psychiatry Section of the Association of German Scientists and Physicians and the German Association of Asylum Psychiatrists in Innsbruck. The journal, ”Archiv fur Psychiatrie und Nervenkrankenheiten”, summarily dismissed Kalhbaum’s presentation in two sentences: “Mr Kahlbaum reported two cases of the so-called “Melancholia attonita” which were associated with high tension of the muscles and constructed a new form of illness: Tension insanity. In the discussion that followed, however, there was hardly any inclination to extend psychiatric nomenclature in this way.”

ABOUT THE GUEST EDITORS

Stanley N. Caroff, MD, received his undergraduate degree from Columbia University before obtaining his medical degree from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. He completed his medical internship at the Roosevelt Hospital and served as a psychiatric resident at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and Montefiore Medical Center. He continued his training as a National Institute of Mental Health postdoctoral fellow in psychopharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia.

Dr. Caroff is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He is the recipient of several awards for excellence in clinical teaching, including the Earl D. Bond Award and the Blockley-Osler Award at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Nancy C.A. Roeske, MD, Certificate of Recognition for Excellence in Medical Student Education.

Currently, he is Chief of the Inpatient Psychiatric Service at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Dr. Caroff also serves as Director of the Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome Information Service, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Malignant Hyperthermia Association of the United States.

His area of research is in the neurobiology and psychopharmacology of major psychotic disorders. He is recognized as an expert in the study of neuroleptic malignant syndrome and related hyperthermic and neurotoxic disorders in psychiatry. Dr. Caroff is also a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Psychiatric Annals.

Gabor S. Ungvari, MD, graduated from Semmelweis University Medical School, Budapest, Hungary, and received his psychiatric training at the Department of Psychiatry of the same medical school. Since the 1980s, he worked in academic settings in Germany, New Zealand, and, for the past 15 years, in Hong Kong. Currently, he is Professor at the Department of Psychiatry, Chinese University of Hong Kong where he is in charge of the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Service.

Dr. Ungvari’s main research interests are in catatonia, psychopharmacology of chronic psychoses, and general psychopathology.

In September 1869, a 41-year-old psychiatrist, Karl Ludvig Kahlbaum, who practiced at an asylum in Gorlitz, presented 2 cases of “melancholia attonita” at the joint meeting of the Psychiatry Section of the Association of German Scientists and Physicians and the German Association of Asylum Psychiatrists in Innsbruck. The journal, ”Archiv fur Psychiatrie und Nervenkrankenheiten”, summarily dismissed Kalhbaum’s presentation in two sentences: “Mr Kahlbaum reported two cases of the so-called “Melancholia attonita” which were associated with high tension of the muscles and constructed a new form of illness: Tension insanity. In the discussion that followed, however, there was hardly any inclination to extend psychiatric nomenclature in this way.”

ABOUT THE GUEST EDITORS

Stanley N. Caroff, MD, received his undergraduate degree from Columbia University before obtaining his medical degree from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. He completed his medical internship at the Roosevelt Hospital and served as a psychiatric resident at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and Montefiore Medical Center. He continued his training as a National Institute of Mental Health postdoctoral fellow in psychopharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia.

Dr. Caroff is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He is the recipient of several awards for excellence in clinical teaching, including the Earl D. Bond Award and the Blockley-Osler Award at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Nancy C.A. Roeske, MD, Certificate of Recognition for Excellence in Medical Student Education.

Currently, he is Chief of the Inpatient Psychiatric Service at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Dr. Caroff also serves as Director of the Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome Information Service, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Malignant Hyperthermia Association of the United States.

His area of research is in the neurobiology and psychopharmacology of major psychotic disorders. He is recognized as an expert in the study of neuroleptic malignant syndrome and related hyperthermic and neurotoxic disorders in psychiatry. Dr. Caroff is also a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Psychiatric Annals.

Gabor S. Ungvari, MD, graduated from Semmelweis University Medical School, Budapest, Hungary, and received his psychiatric training at the Department of Psychiatry of the same medical school. Since the 1980s, he worked in academic settings in Germany, New Zealand, and, for the past 15 years, in Hong Kong. Currently, he is Professor at the Department of Psychiatry, Chinese University of Hong Kong where he is in charge of the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Service.

Dr. Ungvari’s main research interests are in catatonia, psychopharmacology of chronic psychoses, and general psychopathology.

10.3928/00485713-20070101-03

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