The Biology of Traumatic Memory
There are many signs and symptoms observable in some severe “shell-shock” cases which point to an affection of the endocrine glands and vegetative nervous system. …
Crile, in his work on Shock, asserts that there is an interrelationship of function of the medullary adrenal gland, the thyroid gland and the brain: “Environmental stimuli reach the brain and cause it to liberate energy which in turn directly or indirectly activates certain other organs and tissues, among which are the thyroid and adrenal glands.”
(Report of the British War Office Committee of Enquiry into “Shell-Shock” )
THE BIRTH OF PTSD followed a historical transformation in psychiatric knowledge making. Out of these changes emerged an invigorated psychiatric science that identified progress with the accumulation of facts by means of testable hypotheses: “Hypotheses prove themselves superior … by surviving strenuous attempts at disconfirmation. Science advances by the replacement of falsified theories by yet to be falsified ones” (Wallace 1988:140). Psychiatric writers associate “testability” with Karl Popper's epistemology of falsificationism (Faust and Miner 1986). There are important differences between Popperian falsificationism and knowledge making in psychiatric science, though, and I will use the term “fallibilism” when I refer to the style of reasoning now practiced in psychiatric science.
In psychiatric science, hypothesis testing means following standards and procedures established by other sciences, most especially by medical science; for example, the use of blinded randomized trials (Klerman 1986:25). These procedures nearly always entail statistical techniques and probabilistic reasoning: a desire to determine and control levels of uncertainty and contingency and a wish to generalize from observations based on samples