Pierre Bauman and Francois Ferrero
An oficial inquiry of the clinical research activities (1946-1980) of Roland Kuhn (1912-2005)
Max Fink’s comment
Thank you for sharing the history of Roland Kuhn and imipramine. It is much ado about nothing. In the 1950s, being admitted to a sanitarium meant living in a “snake pit.” The clinicians were willing to try anything that might help and the patients accepted any help. I told my story of working at Hillside Hospital in 1950s in my essay “An Experimentalist’s Journey in Neurology and Psychiatry: 60 Years of Neuroscience” (Fink 2017, 2018) and our willingness (and acceptance by patients) of ECT, ICT, chlorpromazine, imipramine and much more.
An article in press in the Journal of ECT on “Random Controlled Trial of Sham ECT and other Novel Therapies” discusses the issue of consent in 1950s at Hillside Hospital:
"Consent: Critics argue that patients cannot ethically consent for ‘sham’ treatments. At the time all patients were admitted voluntarily for treatment. The institution was heralded as offering effective treatments for the severe mentally ill. While a modern Institutional Review Board was not instituted, the institution accepted research studies as central to their mission as did individual treatments. The Medical Board reviewed all studies before inception and the results as they developed. Presentations of findings in their public Journal of the Hillside Hospital was encouraged. The Medical Board recognized that patients receiving sham treatment, who remained in the safety of the inpatient unit, were not placed at undue risk; each would receive effective treatment."
The sham study was one of many RCT studies and it may be useful to highlight other reported studies.
Fink M. An Experimentalist’s Journey in Neurology and Psychiatry: 60 Years in Clinical Neuroscience. Stony Brook University Libraries. New York; 2017.
Fink M. An Experimentalist’s Journey in Neurology and Psychiatry: 60 Years in Clinical Neuroscience. Redacted and edited for the Fink Collection in INHN’s electronic Archives, April 11, 2018. inhn.org.archives. August 2, 2018.
May 27, 2021