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Manic-Depressive Illness, Diabetes Mellitus, and Lithium Carbonate

Christiaan D. van der Velde, MD; Malcolm W. Gordon, PhD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;21(4):478-485. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740220094011.
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OUR interest in the glucose metabolism of manic-depressive patients originated with the discovery of a diabetic condition in a patient whose complaints of polyuria, thirst, fatigue, and spells of profuse perspiration were initially interpreted as toxic manifestations of lithium carbonate therapy. In addition to a diabetic response to the glucose tolerance tests, a review of her hospital record revealed high-fasting blood sugar levels on several previous admissions. Similar findings among other manic-depressive patients formed the rationale of the following studies.

Procedures  Repeated glucose tolerance tests were performed on 42 manic-depressive patients hospitalized at Norwich Hospital. The diagnoses of these patients were independently agreed upon by the referring hospital and research staff, and confirmed by their past histories as documented in their hospital records. Most of these patients were readmissions and not on medication. Some patients were receiving lithium carbonate.A second glucose tolerance survey was carried out on


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