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January 1950

THE CURRENT PATH IN ELECTRIC CONVULSION SHOCK

Author Affiliations

ORANGE PARK, FLA.

From the Yerkes Laboratories of Primate Biology.

Arch NeurPsych. 1950;63(1):102-109. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1950.02310190108008
Abstract

IT IS RATHER commonly supposed that the shock current applied to the head in electric convulsion therapy travels directly from electrode to electrode, in a fairly straight and narrow path, passing undeflected through skin, bone and brain. Alexander and Lowenbach1 presented data which they interpreted as supporting this point of view, while Smitt and Wegener,2 using a more direct technic, found evidence which seems to indicate considerable diffusion of the current.

The present experiment resembles that of Smitt and Wegener in employing intracerebral voltage measurements from probes passed through the brain from the occipital protuberance to the supraorbital margin. It differs from theirs in using a live monkey rather than human cadavers, and it includes several additional measurements, which make it possible to estimate the resistivities of the several tissue layers and to study their effects on the distribution of current through the head.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS  Three

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