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November 1957

Relation of Electroencephalographic Delta Activity to Behavioral Response in ElectroshockQuantitative Serial Studies

Author Affiliations

Glen Oaks, N. Y.

From the Department of Experimental Psychiatry, Hillside Hospital.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1957;78(5):516-525. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1957.02330410080012

Recent theories of electroshock therapy1-3 have emphasized the role of neurophysiologic changes as the basis for the therapeutic action of electroshock. Consistent with these theories, we have observed a relation between changes in certain measures of brain function and behavioral response. We have noted that evaluations of clinical improvement following electroshock are related to changes in orientation and confabulation after intravenous amobarbital,4 learning and recall,5 and syntactical aspects of language.6

In view of these observations, it could be expected that electroencephalographic studies would show a similar relationship. Numerous observers have reported consistent changes in the electroencephalogram after electrically induced convulsions. There is diffuse slowing with increased voltage and dysrhythmic activity.7-12 Fast activity decreases, both in voltage and in percent time,13 and in patients who are intensively treated there is a slowing of persistent alpha frequencies.14 The degree, duration, and extent of delta activity are