Sakel, Manfred Joshua

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SAKEL, MANFRED JOSHUA (1900–1957), Austrian psychiatrist. Born in Nadvorna, Galicia (then Austria), Sakel went to Berlin, where he specialized in treating addicts. On an accidental overdosage of the then newly discovered insulin, given to an addict who was diabetic, he observed that the patient lost her craving for narcotics. Sakel then started his experiments with the insulin cure for therapeutic purposes in schizophrenic patients. After the rise of Hitler, Sakel returned to Vienna and continued his work at the University Clinic, the birthplace of Wagner-Jareggs' experimental malaria treatment and a center of therapeutic initiative. It was here that Sakel developed the details of the insulin coma treatment, which for many years was the standard therapy in schizophrenia, especially in its early stages. In 1935 he published his dissertation on insulin therapy; Neue Behandlungsmethode der Schizophrenie. In 1936 Sakel emigrated to the U.S. and continued his work at the New York State Mental Health Department. He refused many offers of academic appointments, preferring to remain independent. He died in New York. His two principal works, Epilepsy (1958) and Schiẓophrenia (1958), were published posthumously. A Sakel Foundation was established, which arranged two international congresses, one in 1959 and one in 1962, that dealt with the topic of biological therapy and, especially, insulin cure.

Sakel was a fervent Zionist and politically supported the *Irgun Ẓeva'i Le'ummi movement.


Current Biography Yearbook 1957 (1958), 375.

[Heinrich Zwi Winnik]