ElectroConvulsive Therapy “turns down overactive connection”…

……researchers claim.

According to a recent (March 19th) news report on BBC News (online)  researchers in Aberdeen, Scotland now claim to understand how ElectroConvulsive Therapy actually works.  Something that is said to have been a mystery ever since the treatment was first used.

This is, or so it seems, quite relevant at the moment since in my personal blog yesterday I wrote about memory problems and this in turn raised a couple of very interesting comments concerning ECT (ElectroConvulsive Therapy) and it’s effects on memory loss.

I was then very interested by an excellent piece written by NZ Cate on her Infinite Sadness…or what? blog and on the same subject.

So seeing as this is a current subject (no pun intended I assure you) at the moment (although hasn’t it always been controversial?) and since opinions seem to be that information of this sort is welcomed by Guild members I thought I would share this recent news report with you.

According to the BBC News report, researchers in Aberdeen claim that “Electroconvulsive therapy for the severely depressed works by “turning down” an overactive connection between areas of the brain.”

Apparently, in a paper published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the researchers have said that the treatment appears to turn down an overactive connection between areas of the brain that control mood and the parts responsible for thinking and concentrating.

Going on to state that “Our key finding is that if you compare the connections in the brain before and after ECT, ECT reduces the connection strength between these same areas – it reduces this hyperconnectivity.” and added “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.”

As I said above, ECT is extremely controversial and whilst professor Ian Reid (who lead this particular research) did make reference to that controversy he seems to feel that a major part of it is that up until now no-one really understood why it was so effective.

The article in question can be read in full by visiting BBC News online here nd I certainly would recommend your doing so if this interests you.

I should perhaps point out that I personally have never had ElectroConvulsive Therapy and whilst I have known others who have had it and thus am familiar with some of its resultant effects I make no personal observations concerning it here as I don’t think it is the right forum for me to do so and so I simply share this article with you because I am sure that it will be of interest to some members.

Kind Regards




3 comments on “ElectroConvulsive Therapy “turns down overactive connection”…

  1. Thanks for that Kevin and timely from my perspective having just written about it. The article is interesting but most of all it makes me realise something about myself, that I don’t need to understand how something works in order to give it a go (especially when there are little alternatives). But I’m inclined to still think that the wider attitudes to ECT make it the biggest barrier for those who might benefit from it.

    • Hi NZ Cate,

      You are more than welcome. I did and do think it is very relevant at the moment. As I said I have never had ECT and whilst I have witnessed its effects on folk, having never undergone it myself I don’t feel it is my place to comment on it.

      I did however want to share the article here as I do feel it is the right place to share it and I also think it is extremely important that folk have the right to make their own decisions on this and that those dicsions be as informed as possible.

      Kind regards,

      Kevin 🙂

  2. I have never had ECT treatments but I have known a few people who have. What I’ve mostly heard is that the complaint is that people have felt as though it affected too much of their memory. I though have always be rather curious of it. But now so much of my memory has fallen by the wayside, why bother lol.

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