Call us free on 0800 862 0373

Sign in to view your quotes
Email address:
Password or PIN:

Forgotten your password? Reset it here.

Electroconvulsive therapy treats depression by reducing hyperconnectivity in the brain

Published on 20/03/2012

Scientists have discovered that controversial electroconvulsive therapy for the severely depressed works by ‘turning down’ an overactive connection between areas of the brain.

Electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT, has been used by psychiatrists around the world since the 1930s. ECT involves anaesthetising a patient, placing electrodes on the temples and delivering a small electrical current to induce a seizure.

Whilst ECT has been used for over 70 years, up until now the underlying mechanisms of the therapy have remained unclear. Some psychiatrists believe that ECT works by causing brain damage.

But now, a team of scientists at the University of Aberdeen have shown for the first time that ECT could work by ‘turning down’ an overactive connection in the brain that causes severe depression.

Published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers analysed MRI scans of nine patients before and after ECT.

The six male and three female patients, from the Royal Cornhill Hospital in Aberdeen, all suffer from severe depressive disorder, and had failed to respond to chemical antidepressants.

But after undergoing ECT twice weekly, with an average of 8 treatments, their symptoms abated.

Scientists observed a decrease in connectivity in the brain after ECT treatment, accompanied by an improvement in the patient’s depressive symptoms.

Professor Ian Reid, professor of psychiatry at the University of Aberdeen and consultant psychiatrist at the Royal Cornhill, said: "For the first time we can point to something that ECT does in the brain that makes sense in the context of what we think is wrong in people who are depressed."

"If we understand more about how ECT works, we will be in a better position to replace it with something less invasive and more acceptable."

People’s experience of ECT varies enormously, because it is a short-term treatment which does not prevent future depression. Many patients experience temporary memory problems after ECT, and some people feel violated after the procedure.

Researchers now hope to continue monitoring the patients to see if the depression and hyperconnectivity returns.

Patients who want to be covered for treatment like ECT on their private medical insurance should compare health insurance policies with full psychiatric cover.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012


Categories:  Medical
Electroconvulsive therapy treats depression by reducing hyperconnectivity in the brainScientists have discovered that controversial electroconvulsive therapy for the severely depressed works by ‘turning down’ an overactive con    tweet it on twittershare with your friends on Facebookshare with your friends on MySpaceBlog it on your LinkedIn profile
 

No.1 health insurance broker as rated by customers

Excellent service. Explained everything in detail and really helped to find the right insurance best suited to my needs - which wasn't necessarily the most expensive. 

Review centre member

Good value and the advisor was very helpful and recommended the best policy for my grandson. I would definitely use this service again and recommend to others.

Review centre member

We were contacted in good time to make a knowledgable choice. We were given plenty of options with lots of information to enable us to make the right choice.

Review centre member

The service I received was excellent, the staff member was very efficient and knowledgable. She went out of her way to get the best policy for me.

Review centre member

Great service. I really appreciated the help provided by Active Quote to arrange health insurance. The agent was very informative and proactive. Many thanks!

Review centre member

I received excellent care and attention from the first phone call till the last. Friendly, efficient and patient.

Review centre member

Staff are very helpful, friendly and polite. They call back when they say they will and keep you up to date with progress. Pleasure to deal with.

Review centre member

Very polite and friendly, and gave detailed explanations of all aspects of the cover. Reassuring to know that if you do have a problem there is someone you can contact.

Review centre member

Friendly and efficient. Nothing was too much trouble even when i needed to make a small change, excellent service.

Review centre member

The advisor was incredibly helpful and fully explained the differences between the policies. I really liked the fact that I was put under no pressure.

Review centre member
 
This site is operated by Insurance Broker ActiveQuote Ltd registered in England & Wales company number 6765845.
Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Firm reference number 501109 as detailed on the Financial Services Register. Please read our Key Facts document.
For information about your rights as a consumer visit Citizens Advice.

Our insurance comparison service is free and easy for you to use, but you are responsible for making sure all your information is entered correctly, and for choosing your insurer.

This site uses cookies in order to work correctly - these are not harmful and do not contain personal information. By using this site you consent to this. I understand  Tell me more

please wait ...