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INHN: Celebration of Max Fink’s 96th birthday
Thomas A. Ban: Background to the celebration

           

            In celebration Max Fink’s 96th birthday on January 16, 2019, INHN is posting three essays dedicated to him. To provide a background to these essays, Max’s biographic sketch and a resume of his contributions was adopted from the Introduction and Preface of Volume Three (Neurophysiology) of An Oral History of Neuropsychopharmacology, a series published by the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and presented here  (Ban  2011a,b).

            Max Fink graduated from New York University in 1945 and completed residency training in neurology and psychiatry at Montefiore and Bellevue Hospitals in New York. A final year of residency at Hillside Hospital, a private sanitarium for the mentally ill in New York, was followed by a fellowship in clinical EEG. In 1954 he established the hospital’s EEG Laboratory. When psychoactive drugs came to the hospital in 1954, he recorded the acute and chronic effects in patients. In 1959 he replaced hand measurements with the outputs of an electronic frequency analyzer. In mid-1962 he established the Missouri Institute of Psychiatry in St. Louis, creating a new laboratory for EEG analysis using digital computer methodology. An IBM 1710 system was programmed with the multivariate statistical analyses performed with mainframe computers at Washington University (Fink 2000). Turan M. Itil came to St. Louis in 1964 and together they explored many psychoactive substances. Fink returned to New York in 1966 to develop a new pharmaco-EEG laboratory at the New York Medical College, using the (then) state-of-the-art IBM 1800 system. Joined by Donald Shapiro they catalogued the effects of known and putative psychoactive substances (Bradley and Fink 1968; Fink 1968, 1969, 1985, 2004; Fink and Itil 1968a,b). Interest in opioids, opioid antagonists, cannabis and cannabinoids broadened the known drug profiles. In 1972 he moved the pharmaco-EEG laboratory to the State University of New York at Stony Brook, continuing his studies until 1985. In the late 1960s Fink revived his interest in ECT studies (Fink 2009). In the 1970s he was a member of the APA Task Force on ECT, writing his textbook Convulsive Therapy: Theory and Practice in 1979. In 1985 he established the journal Convulsive Therapy, now Journal of ECT (JECT). In the last decade (during the first 10 years of the 21st century) he published detailed texts on the clinical syndromes of catatonia in 2003 and melancholia in 2006, in collaboration with Michael Alan Taylor (Fink and Taylor 2006; Taylor and Fink 2003). He also wrote a treatise on ethics in electroconvulsive therapy with the Swedish ECT expert and ethicist Jan-Otto Ottosson in 2004 (Fink 2011a,b; Ottosson and Fink 2004).

            In 1957Max demonstrated the relation of Δ-activity in the human EEG and behavioral response to ECT (Fink and Kahn 1957).  One year later, in 1958, Fink was among the first to report on the differential effect of antipsychotic, antidepressant and antianxiety drugs on the human EEG and behavior (Fink 1959). In the same year, in collaboration with Shaw, Gross and Coleman, he showed the superiority of chlorpromazine to insulin coma therapy in the treatment of psychosis (Fink, Shaw, Gross and Coleman 1958). During the 1960s and ’70s, Fink’s research was focused on pharmaco-EEG, digital computer analysis of the human EEG and EEG classification of psychotropic drugs (Fink 1968, 1998; Fink, Itil and Shapiro 1967).

 

References:

 

Ban TA, editor. An Oral History of Neuropsychopharmacology The First Fifty Years Peer Interviews. Volumes 1 -10. Brentwood:  American College of Neuropsychopharmacology; 2011.

Ban TA. Preface. In: Fink M, editor. Neurophysiology. Volume Two. (Ban TA, editor. An Oral History of Neuropsychopharmacology The First Fifty Years Peer Interviews). Brentwood: American College of Neuropsychopharmacology; 2011b, pp. jx-xxii.

Bradley P, Fink M, editors.  Anticholinergic Drugs and Brain Functions in Animals and Man. Amsterdam: Elsevier 1968.

Fink M. EEG and behavioral effects of psychopharmacologic agents. In: Bradley PB, Deniker P, Radouco-Thomas C, editors.  Neuropsychopharmacology. Amsterdam: Elsevier; 195<9, pp. 441-6.

Fink M. EEG classification of psychoactive compounds in man: Review and theory of behavioral associations. In: Efron DH, editor. Psychopharmacology A Review of Progress 1957-1967. Washington: US Government Printing Office; 1968, pp. 497-508.

Fink M. EEG and human psychopharmacology. Ann Rev Pharmacol 1969; 9: 241–58.

Fink M. Phamaco-electroencephalography. A debate in psychopharmacology. In: Ban TA, Healy D, Shorter E, editors. The Rise of Psychopharmacology and the Story of CINP. Budapest: Animula; 1998, pp. 151-6.

Fink M. A clinician-researcher and ECDEU: 1959–1980. In: Ban TA, Healy D, Shorter E, editors. The Triumph of Psychopharmacology and the Story of the CINP. Budapest: Animula; 2000. p. 82–92.

Fink M. Pharmaco-electroencephalography. Aselective history of the study of brain responses to psychoactive drugs. In: Ban TA, Healy, D, Shorter E, editors. Reflections on Twentieth-Century Psychopharmacology. Budapest: Animula; 2004. p. 661–72.

Fink M. Electroconvulsive Therapy. A Guide for Professionals & Their Patients. New York: Oxford University Press; 2009.

Fink M, editor. Neurophysiology. Volume Two. (Ban TA, editor. An OralHistory of Neuropsychopharmacology The Firs Fifty Years Peer Interviews). Brentwood: American College of Neuropsychopharmacology; 2011a.

Fink M. Introduction. In Fink M, editor. Neurophysiology. Volume Two. (Ban TA, editor. An Oral History of Neuropsychopharmacology The Firs Fifty Years Peer Interviews). Brentwood: American College of Neuropsychopharmacology; 2011b, pp. xxxi – xlvii.

Fink M and Itil T. EEG and human psychopharmacology: IV: Clinical antidepressants. In: Efron D, editor. Psychopharmacology A Review of Progress 1957–1967. The Proceedings of the Sixth Annual Meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. Washington: Public Health Service Publications No. 1836. Superintendent of Documents. US Government Printing Office; 1968a. p. 671–82.

Fink M, Itil T. Neurophysiology of the phantastica: EEG and behavioral relations in man. In: Efron D, editor. Psychopharmacology A Review of Progress 1957–1967. The Proceedings of the Sixth Annual Meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. Washington: Public Health Service Publications No. 1836. Superintendent of Documents. US Government Printing Office; 1968b. p. 1231–40.

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

Fink M, Kahn RL. Relation of EEG Δ-activity to behavioral response to electroshock. Arch Neurol Psychiatry 1957; 78: 517-25.

Fink M, Shaw R, Gross G, Coleman FS. Comparative study of chlorpromazine and insulin coma in the therapy of psychosis. JAMA 1958; 166: 1846-50.

Fink M, Taylor MA. Catatonia: A Clinician’s Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment. Cambridge: University Press; 2003.

Ottosson J-O, Fink M.Ethics in Electroconvulsive Therapy London: Routledge; 20015.

Taylor MA, Fink M. Melancholia: The Diagnosis, Pathophysiology and Treatment of Depression. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2006.

Happy 95th Birthday, Max with many returns and continued productivity in the years to come!

 

January 17, 2019