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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2003

ECT of major depressed patients in relation to biological and clinical variables: A brief overview

Wahlund B, von Rosen D


The knowledge that spontaneous or induced convulsions can improve mental disorders has been present for several centuries, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has undergone fundamental changes since its introduction, and in the last 15-20 years there has been a legitimate renewal of interest for this therapy. Today the indications for use of ECT seem well codified, and its technique and practices have evolved considerably. It is now firmly established as an important and effective method of treating certain severe forms of depression. However, still very little is known about the mechanism of ECT. In this paper, first, we will give a short overview as to how far we have got concerning ECT in relation to various clinical and biological variables. Second, we will describe ECT in relation to electroencephalographic (EEG) technique and clinical outcome as well as give some proposals as to how to go on with the data analysis of EEG. In conclusion, the superior effect of ECT compared to other antidepressives in severe depression may depend on neurochemical and neurobiological cascade effects initiated by repeated treatments. Above all, ECT offers a unique experimental opportunity to study how neuromodulation of the major transmitter systems may be involved in brain dynamics and alteration of connectivity

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2003, Volume: 28, pages: S21-S26

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