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Turan M. Itil

By Antonio E. Nardi

Turan Itil was born in Bursa, Turkey in August 12, 1924. He received his MD from the Meical College, University of Istanbul, in 1948, and completed his training in neurology and psychiatry, in the early 1950s, at the University of Tübingen in Germany. Subsequently, he joined Fritz Flügel’s Department of Neuropsychiatry in Erlangen, Germany (Itil 1998, 2011).

Itil became involved in studying clinical and electroencephalographic changes with centrally acting drugs in collaboration with Dieter Bente, in the mid - 1950s. It was in the course of their first study, in which they tested the therapeutic effect of promethazine on phantom pain that he learned that drugs which affect human behavior also produce effects on the human electroencephalogram (EEG) (Bente and Itil, 1954; Itil 1998). Pursuing further the same line of research, they reported on the clinical and electroencephalographic effects of chlorpromazine, in 1954, and of reserpine, methamphetamine and lysergic acid diethylamide, in 1957 (Bente and Itil 1954, 1957 a & b). In 1957, at the First CINP Congress in Rome, Bente and Itil (1059) reported on the differences in chlorpromazine-induced and natural sleep; and, in 1960, at the Second CINP Congress in Rome, Flügel, Bente, Itil and Molitoris, reportd their findings with acylated piperazine phenothiazines, that was, allegedly, instrumental in the clinical development of butaperazine (Bente and Itil 1959; Flügel, Bente, Itil and Molitoris 1961).  It was also, in 1961, that Itil published first on the differential effects of neuroleptics and thymoleptics on the EEG.

In 1963, Itil joined Max Fink at the Missouri Institute of Psychiatry, where they developed a digital computer analysis of the human EEG, they referred to as quantitative EEG, or pharmaco-EEG (Fink, Itil and Shapiro 1967); and he set up a laboratory for the screening, early clinical evaluation and monitoring psychotropic effects (Fink, Shapiro, Hickman and Itil 1968; Itil 1966, 1968; Itil, Shapiro and Fink 1968). It was in this laboratory in the mid-1960s, he found that the pentothal-induced change in the EEG could be used as a prognostic index in drug therapy of psychotic patients (Itil 1965); and demonstrated, in collaboration with Samuel Gershon and Max Fink that tetrahydroamino acridine could reverse, not only the delirium, but also the EEG changes associated with delirium induced by anticholinergic drugs (Itil 1966; Itil and Fink 1966). It was also in this laboratory, in collaboration with Polvin and Hsu, he revealed that Org GB 94 (mianserin), a tetracyclic substance has antidepressant properties (Itil, Polvin and Hsu 1972).  In 1974, Itil moved from the University of Missouri to the New York Medical College and established, in Terrytown, HZI Research Center Laboratory for using pharmaco-EEG in the identification of psychoactive properties of drugs and in the prediction of their therapeutic activity, i.e., whether they had characteristics of antipsychotics, antidepressants, cognitive enhancers or axiolytics (Itil 1972). Among the early drugs studied at the center were lisuride, an antiparkinson drug, related to dopaminergic ergoline compounds, and mestrolone, a synthetic androgene preparation (Itil, Herrmann and Akpinar 1978a; Itil, Herrmann, Blasucci and Freedman 1978b); and among the last was gingko biloba, a plant extract with  central nervous system effects, he reported on, in 1996  (Itil, Eralp, Tsambis, Itil and Stein 1996).

In the late 1990s, Itil moved back to Turkey and died in Mersin, Turkey, April, 29, 2014, at age 89.

Bente D, Itil TM. Periphere Anästhesie und Schmerzgeschehen. Acta Neuroveg 1954; 7: 258-62.

Bente D. Itil M. Zu Wirkung des  Phenothiazin Körpern  Megaphen auf das menschliche Hirnströmbild.  Arzneimittel Forschung 1954; 4; 418-23. 

Bente, Itil T. Elektrooenzephalographische Veränderungen unter extreme hoche  Reserpin dosen. In:  Garattini S, Ghetti V, editors. Psychotropic Drugs. Amsterdam: Elsevier; 1957a, pp. 294-6.

Bente D, Itil TM.  Vergleichende klinischelektonzephalograpische Untersuchungen mit Pervitin und LSD 25.  In:  Garattini S, Ghetti V, editors. Psychotropic Drugs. Amsterdam: Elsevier; 1957b, pp. 284-5.

Bente D, Itil M. A comparison of the action of various phnothiazine compounds on the human EEG. In: Bradley PB, Deniker P, Radouco-Thomas C, eds. Neuropsychophar-macology. Amsterdam: Elsevier; 1959, pp.456-8.

Fink M, Itil TM, Shapiro DM.  Digital computer analysis of the human EEG in psychiatric research. Compr Psychiatry 1967; 8: 521-38. 

Fink M, Shapiro D, Hickman C, Itil T. Quantitative analyis of the electroencephalogram by digital computer methods. III: Applications to psychopharmacology. In: Kline NS, Laska E, editors. Computers and Electronic Devices in Psychiatry. New York: Grune & Stratton; 1968, pp. 108–23.

Flügel  F, Bente D,  Itil TM, Molitoris B. Klinische und elektroenzephalographische Untersuchungen in der Reihe der acylierten Piperazin-Phenothiazin Derivate.  In: Rothlin E, editor. Neuro-Psychopharmacology. Volume 2. Amsterdam: Elsevier; 1961, pp. 236--43.

Itil M. Elektroenzephalographische Befunde zur Klassification neuro - und thymoleptischer  Medikamente.  Med Exp 1961; 5: 347-63.

Itil TM. Pentothal-induced changes in EEG as a prognostic index in drug therapy of psychotic patients. American Journal of Psychiatry 1965; 121: 996-1002.

Itil TM. Quantitative EEG changes induced by anticholinergic drugs and their behavioral correlates in man. In: Wortis J, editor: Recent Advances in Biological Psychiatry. Volume 8.  New York: Plenum Press; 1966, pp. 151-73.

Itil, TM.  Electroencephalography and pharmacopsychiatry. In: Freyhan F, Petrilowitsch N, Pichot  P, editors. Modern  Problems of Pharmacopsychiatry vol 1. Basel: Karger; 1968, pp.  163-94.

Itil TM. Quantitative pharmaco-electroencephalography in the discovery of a new group of psychotropic drugs. Diseases of the Nervous System 1972; 338: 557-9.

Itil TM. First use of placebo. In: BanTA, Healy D, Shorter E, editors. The Rise of Psychopharmacology and the Storof CINP.  Budapest:  Animula; 1998, p.. 157-60.

Itil TM, interviewed by Andrea Tone. In: Ban TA, editor. An Oral History of  Neuropsychopharmacology. (Volume 2: Neurophysiology, editor Max Fink). Brentwood: American College of Neuropsychopharmacolgy; 2011, pp.35-45.

Itil TM, Eralp E, Tsambis E., Itil KZ, Stein U. Central nervous system effects of gingko biloba, a plant extract. American Journal of Therapeutics 1996; 1:63-73.

Itil TM, Fink M. Anticholinergic drug-induced delirium: experimental modification, quantitative EEG and behavioral correlations. Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases  1966; 143: 492–507.

Itil TM, Herrmann WM, Akpinar S. Prediction of psychotropic properties of lisuride hydrogen maleate by quantitative pharmaco-electroencephalogrphy. Internal Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 1975; 12:221-233.

Itil TM, Polvan N, Hsu W. Clinical and EEG effects of GB-94, a tetracyclic” antidepressant (EEG model in discovery of a new psychotropic drug). Current Therapeutic Research 1972; 14: 395-413.

Itil TM, Shapiro DM, Fink M. Differentiation of psychotropic drugs by quantitative EEG analysis. Agressologie 1968; 9: 267-280.

Antonio E. Nardi

August 21, 2014