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March 1954

IMPAIRMENT OF MENTAL FUNCTION DURING ELECTRIC CONVULSIVE THERAPY

Author Affiliations

HARTFORD, CONN.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1954;71(3):362-366. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1954.02320390092009
Abstract

EXPERIENCE with electric shock treatment leaves no doubt in the mind of the clinician of the seriousness of impairment of mental function in patients subjected to this procedure. The severe mental disintegration caused by extensive shock treatment hinders all but the most superficial psychotherapy and, in addition, gravely interferes with the patient's social and occupational adjustment. Yet it is difficult to find a psychological test which would unequivocally and quantitatively express the obvious clinical deficiency.

Rylander1 used a number of selected psychological tests to ascertain impairment of function of the frontal lobes following lobotomy and found the score of the Noun Enumeration Test persistently diminished as long as 28 months following the surgical procedure. It was therefore considered of interest to apply this test to patients receiving electric shock therapy.

METHODS  Patients treated by electric shock on an ambulatory basis were tested by a word-naming test one-half hour preceding

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