Doctors Get a Clue About How Shock Therapy Works
Posted on Mar 19, 2012
It’s long been a subject of controversy, as well as a few dramatic movie scenes, but electroconvulsive therapy, aka shock therapy, also appears to work when other treatments don’t in some persistent cases of depression. Now the medical community has a little more insight into how it helps patients.
In the study, nine patients scheduled to undergo shock therapy had their brains scanned using functional MRI before and after treatment. This type of imaging detects blood flow to specific areas of the brain. Then the researchers analyzed the brain’s connectivity using a new mathematical model.
The finding suggests that this overactive connection is important, without saying why. A previous study, published in the journal PLoS had similar results, showing that depressed patients had more hyperactive connections compared with normal control subjects.
Wikimedia Commons / Nasko
A Siemens Konvulsator III ECT machine from around 1960.