26 PSYCHOTHERAPY : SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS chap.
of cells formed in a follicle of the ovary after the discharge of an ovum. If pregnancy ensues, the corpus luteum continues active for several months, repressing menstruation. If this does not occur, it atrophies in about two weeks, paving the way for the next menstrual cycle. Ovarian deficiency causes a lack of both of these hormones. The effect of the loss is not as clearly known as is that of the corresponding state in males. It is reported that hypogonadal women tend to be egotistic, resentful and full of self-pity. This pattern looks very much like a defensive attitude formed as a reaction to the loss of an esteemed life function, and therefore only a secondary effect of the glandular disturbance.
The pineal gland is a tiny body located, like the pituitary, near the brain. It functions principally during childhood, becoming loaded with calcium concretions in adult years, and probably regressing in function.
The thymus^ located in the chest, shows a similar tendency to be large until puberty, after which it shrinks to smaller size. Because of this connection with puberty two theories of the function of the pineal and the thymus have been proposed. One is that they hold back sexual development until the proper time. The other is that they exercise a general stimulating function on body tissues which is taken over by the gonads at sexual maturity. It is known that the pineal gland atrophies early in some cases of precocious puberty but the evidence is not clear. There is considerable doubt whether the thymus is an endocrine gland at all. It is closely related to the lymphatic system and its atrophy in adolescence may be only a part of the general lymphatic changes occurring at that time. If it becomes enlarged or does not decline in size with maturity the individual is very susceptible to the effects of any anaesthetic. Examples of collapse and death during an operation from this