From the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s, Insulin coma therapy was common in psychiatric treatment of schizophrenia and
depression. It was discovered in Germany, and spread to the US
with emigration of psychiatrists before World War II. A moderate
amount of insulin was given, enough to restrict glucose supply to the brain,
causing shock, coma, and convulsions. Electroconvulsive therapy mostly
replaced it in the 50s through 80s. Interestingly, the therapy
apparently still persists in Germany, although less insulin is now given,
coma is avoided, and it is called "modified insulin
therapy". There are fairly recent reports of remarkable success
using this method in treatment of schizophrenia (Nervenarzt. 1994 Nov;65(11):769-73) and
depression (Psychiatr. Prax. 1995 Mar;22(2):64-7). Not being aware of
IPT results in Mexico and Canada, psychiatrists
have apparently missed out on the benefits of adding medication and
nutrients during a mild controlled pulse of hypoglycemia/hyperinsulinemia.
Dr. Perez Garcia y Bellon 2 used IPT to treat some cases of mental illness. There is a
case of schizophrenia in
the 1992 patent. The patient returned to normal, apparently
permanently, after only 4 IPT treatments.
So what is going on to produce these results? The
Drs. Perez Garcia, like the
insulin shock doctors, had their theories, but continued to do the treatments
mainly because they worked. Today, with the revolution of neuroscience,
and with the roles of insulin in the brain being hot topics, we may begin to
truly understand the underlying mechanisms. Insulin has been shown to
stimulate neuron growth and myelination, and it improves cognitive
function. There are an unusual number of insulin receptors in the
hippocampus. Maybe the detoxification and blood chemistry balancing effects of IPT help. And
apparently insulin helps regulate the balance of neurotransmitters.
As a past member of the Society for Neuroscience, I am sure that the amazing
army of neuroscience researchers can figure it out. My job here is to
notify them of this phenomenon of IPT, and to suggest some places to start to
Then there is the hidden
infection hypothesis of evolutionary microbiologists like Paul Ewald.
There is growing evidence that obsessive compulsive disorder may be caused by Streptococcus infection
or immune reaction to it. Schizophrenia may be caused by Borna virus, or a
relative. And depression is highly suspect as an infection-caused disease
because it is so prevalent and has such evolutionary disadvantages. So IPT
may be treating mental illness so rapidly and effectively by stimulating the
immune system, and might even be improved by adding antibiotics and antivirals
to the therapy, in a multi-pathogen
IPT (MP-IPT) protocol.
To me, the truly amazing thing is that
Drs. Perez Garcia 1 and 2, through luck,
intuition, observation, and experimentation, may have hit on an optimal protocol
for using insulin and glucose to achieve benefits in the brain and throughout the body.