What is the effect of insulin in shock therapy?

I was curious on using Insulin in the Psychiatric Wards, as a shock treatment.  My question is, what exactly did Insulin do to mentally ill patient's, that gave them such a dramatic recovery to become "normal"?
I couldn't understand why a secretion of the Pancreas injected into a human, producing uncontrollable seizures would aide in their mental illness(es). If you could be any help, I'd greatly appreciate it.
Thank you for all your time,
S Holditch
14 yrs old.

Dear Sara,
thanks for your interest.
The truth is: no one knows for sure. In fact, insulin was only a way of shocking the nervous system by provoking epileptic seizures, which are expressed by the patient's body as a loss of consciousness, retrograde amnesia (loss of recent memories) and motor convulsions. The injection of insulin causes an abrupt fall in the blood's glucose level (a hypoglicemia) and, the nervous cells, deprived of their fuel, start firing at random. This disorganizes the nervous system and somehow erases memories, changes the patient's emotional disposition and mood. Some researchers used the metaphor of "resetting the mind", similar to booting up a computer when it starts misbehaving, but no one knows why this is so, really. The researchers who started to use artificially elicited epileptic seizures to "cure" mental diseases were initially impressed with the observation that schizophrenia is very rare among chronic epileptic patients. I must say, however, that in many cases of insulin therapy, the patients returned sooner or later to their previous state, so no real cure was achieved.
Best regards
Renato M.E. Sabbatini



Copyright Silvia Helena Cardoso, PhD