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Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, philosophy and health care

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Why are we still using electroconvulsive therapy?

By Jim Reed
BBC Newsnight
Originally posted July 24, 2013

Here are some excerpts:

The idea of treating a psychiatric illness by passing a jolt of electricity through the brain was one of the most controversial in 20th Century medicine. So why are we still using a procedure described by its critics as barbaric and ineffective?


"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," Prof Reid says. "The change that we see in the brain connections after ECT reflects the change that we see in the symptom profile of patients who generally see a big improvement."

But passing electricity through the most complex organ in the body is not without risk. Many doctors think the side-effects of ECT can be so serious they outweigh any possible benefits.

The entire story is here.
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