David Janowsky:Cholinergic muscarinic mechanisms in depression and mania 


Samuel Gershon’s comment on Max Fink’s comment


        I thank Max Fink for refreshing my memory with his important work on the effect of ECT on cholinergic symptoms and the possible relationship of the ECT effects on depression. Our paper in the Lancet in 1961 reported that lab workers with organophosphorus insecticides which influenced acetyl choline levels induced depression in these patients. The depression did not resolve until there was a restitution of the effects caused by this insecticide.

        Max also mentions his work with the anti-cholinergic drug ditran and its EEG effects. In 1959-60 we did some work with ditran and our doses induced quite clear hallucinogenic effects in man. Later on, when I joined Max in St. Louis (1963-65), we had some more experience together with EEG and ditran. At that time, we demonstrated that the experimental compound Tacrine reversed the hallucinogenic effect of ditran on the EEG.



Gershon S, Shaw FH.     Psychiatric sequelae of chronic exposure to organophosphorus insecticides. Lancet, 1961; 1(7191):1371-4.


October 29, 2020