90 Dr. Katharina Dalton b 11-Nov-1916 d 17-Sep-2004


The above is an insight to the thoughts of Katharina


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This is a small extract. of Dr Katharina's obituary. An intellectual giant 50 years ahead of some of today's doctors. I can't say enough.

GP who coined the term 'premenstrual syndrome' in 1953, then set up the first clinic to treat PMS and ran it for 40 years.

Within a month of starting as a general practitioner, she was called out in the middle of the night to an asthmatic with severe breathing problems. As she left, the husband apologised and mentioned that he had to call a doctor out every month. Dalton remembered her own migraines, which she suffered monthly, but never when pregnant. On advice from a former teacher, the endocrinologist Dr Raymond Greene, she had found relief from them with natural progesterone.

In the same month Dalton made a note of each woman patient who visited the surgery, observing when this was a "regular" i.e., "monthly" call. Eventually, after discussions with Greene, she decided to treat a couple of the patients with progesterone. It brought immediate relief, and together with Greene she wrote the first paper on the subject of premenstrual syndrome. Published in the Medical Journal in 1953, it was the first of many.

In the subsequent years, she pursued her career as a GP while conducting parallel research into premenstrual syndrome. This involved regular visits to Holloway prison, where she interviewed newly committed prisoners. She found that 49 per cent had been sentenced for crimes committed during the paramenstruum (four days prior to the start of menstruation and first four days of menstruation).

In the late 1950s she was appointed a clinical assistant to the department of psychological medicine at University College Hospital. There she started the first premenstrual syndrome clinic. By the mid-1960s she was seeing patients privately in rooms in Harley Street, and eventually she withdrew as a general practitioner in the NHS. She continued with a limited list of 80 patients to pursue her research and to practise full time, seeing patients from all over Britain and overseas and in cases of hardship charging no fee.

She also lectured extensively in the US, where her theories were sometimes given a better reception than in her home country, and in Europe.

Her testimony was frequently sought to defend women who pleaded diminished responsibility because of premenstrual syndrome. She was an expert witness for the defence of Anna Reynolds, a woman charged with manslaughter, and of Nicola Owen, an arsonist who struck at intervals that were multiples of 28 days. Both women were acquitted.

Her publications included

Premenstrual Syndrome (1964);
The Menstrual Cycle (1969);
Premenstrual Syndrome and Progesterone Therapy (1977);
Once a Month (1978); and
Depression After Childbirth(1980).

Dalton's primary research was into PMS, although she did a good deal of work on migraine and its link to diet as well as on progesterone and its effects on the foetus, progesterone prophylaxis for pre-eclampsia and progesterone prophylaxis for postnatal depression

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