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February 1954

ELECTRIC SHOCK TREATMENT AND THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE

Author Affiliations

HARTFORD, CONN.

From the clinical services of the New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, and The Institute of Living, Hartford, Conn. Dr. R. C. Robertiello, former resident of the New York State Psychiatric Institute, assisted in the preliminary phase of this study.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1954;71(2):198-207. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1954.02320380064008
Abstract

DISTURBANCES in the menstrual cycle are frequent concomitants of electric shock therapy. Since menstruation is an outward manifestation of endocrine function intricately related to the sensitive balance of the hypothalamic and pituitary coordinators, the disturbance in menstruation was deemed worthy of search for possible clues to the mechanisms of electric shock treatment.

METHODS  The records of 687 female inpatients of the New York State Psychiatric Institute treated during the years 1942 to 1949 were reviewed for data pertinent to the study. Criteria for selection of cases were (1) at least one menstruation in the hospital before electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) was begun; (2) a sufficient length of stay in the hospital after ECT for the occurrence of postshock menstruation or the establishment of amenorrhea.The clinical and experimental nature of the material led to considerable variability of the pattern of shock treatment. In a sizable proportion of patients ECT was combined

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