Skip to main content
padlock icon - secure page this page is secure

Centrifuge “Therapy” for Psychiatric Patients in Germany in the Early 1800s

Buy Article:

$22.00 + tax (Refund Policy)

Harsch V. Centrifuge “therapy” for psychiatric patients in Germany in the early 1800s. Aviat Space Environ Med 2006; 77:157–60.



In 1818, Dr. Ernst Horn (1774–1848) reported miraculous cures for patients suffering from hysteria through the use of centrifuges at the psychiatric wards of the Charité-Hospital in Berlin during the previous decade. In his book, “Public Account Concerning My 12 years’ Service as Second Physician of the Royal Hospital in Berlin, Including Experiences from Hospitals and Mental Institutions, ” a full description of the indications and methods for treatment of mental illness, including technical data and construction costs for a rotating bed and rotating chair, is given. The rotating bed was turned by a crankshaft connected by ropes to a capstan. Slowing or stopping was achieved by tensing a rope around a wheel near the ceiling. With a diameter of 13 ft, this therapeutic instrument was capable of producing up to 4 to 5 −Gz in the head region. Several hundred patients and many volunteer subjects, including medical doctors, were reported to have been exposed to the rotating devices, along with some miraculous cures. Apart from the ethical problems associated with this type of torturous treatment, the rotating bed could be described as an ancient centrifuge. With the well-documented observations made on this device, the very first description of G-induced biomedical effects, such as shortness of breath and a feeling of oppression and anxiety, was given: These observations were comparable to those made one century later on human centrifuges and in flight.
No Reference information available - sign in for access.
No Citation information available - sign in for access.
No Supplementary Data.
No Article Media
No Metrics

Keywords: Ernst Horn; Germany; aerospace medicine; centrifuge; history; medical ethics; rotating bed; rotating chair

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 February 2006

More about this publication?
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
X
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more