“The man of science has learned to believe in justification, not by faith, but by verification.” ― Thomas H. Huxley,

Collected Essays of Thomas Henry Huxley. Professor Huxley is trying to say that a man of science [a researcher] has measure things and that someone must try to replicate these findings to see if they are true. If the results are reproducible then we know that we are on to something. This is how science advances.

Are vital signs abnormal in depressed insane patients? Was Kraepelin correct? Are his results reproducible? No one knows because no one is trying to replicate his findings. And he took being a man of science very very seriously.

Kraepelin measured vital sign very carefully and found abnormal patterns in both depressive and manic attacks of insanity. Insanity referring to attacks of deranged mind or what Paula experienced as a reversible attack of mild dementia, and keep in mind that even when mild, dementia really interferes with everything.

We need to repeat Kraepelin’s careful measurement of vital signs in the different stages of bipolar attacks, to try to REPLICATE Kraepelin’s results.

Abnormal vital signs, especially breathing rate, would verify his hypothesis of metabolic disturbance as the cause of manic depression.

Scientist do not seem to like to try to replicate other researchers findings, even though it is a vital part of the scientific method of research.

Measurement is also key. It is interesting that the best science was being done, during Kraepelin’s career, in Germany where he practiced. He was interested in using objective medical tools to measure vital signs during incapacitating bipolar attacks.. The thermometer, the blood pressure machine, the stethoscope and even the respiratory plethysmograph. North Americans doctors and scientists of that time, were not interested in the scientific method or the use of these objective tools.

I think that psychiatrists, even more than other doctors, are not interested in measurements of vital signs or use of the scientific method in studying insanity. They are not even willing to accept the term insanity and prefer to shove the whole idea of madness under the rug. The STIGMA of madness in bipolar illness is in ignoring this tragic symptom. It is horrible to become mad, it is even worse to have doctors pretend that you are not mad. It is a way of not dealing with the problem at all. Kraepelin understood that stigma was not the reason why patients felt so bad. It wasn’t even the reason why they sometimes felt guilt. Patients felt bad in that they felt horrible distress. Distress as an unbearable sensation- not an emotion. They also felt guilty because they could no longer function. They could not do their job. They could not physically talk to friends and loved ones any longer. They could not explain. They did not even know they were demented because that takes the ability to think. They were in a terrible way. And no one bothered to investigate their bodily signs.


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