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November 1952

EFFECT OF SERIES OF ELECTRIC SHOCK TREATMENTS ON CEREBRAL BLOOD FLOW AND METABOLISM

Author Affiliations

DURHAM, N. C.; MIAMI, FLA.

From the Departments of Medicine and Psychiatry, Duke University School of Medicine.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1952;68(5):651-654. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1952.02320230077009
Abstract

SINCE the introduction of electric shock therapy, there has been much debate as to the effect of the treatment on the human brain. Pathological studies on animals1 have, in general, failed to show any histological changes in the brain following a series of therapeutic electric shock treatments. Kety and associates,2 in studying a series of patients 10 to 20 minutes after one treatment, demonstrated a pronounced drop in cerebral blood flow with a less pronounced drop in cerebral metabolism. These changes, however, were associated with a drop in the pH of the blood and in carbon dioxide tension and were probably, at least in part, secondary to the marked changes in body metabolism brought about by the convulsion.

It has long been known that temporary disturbances in memory and orientation frequently occur in patients undergoing electric shock therapy. These changes are variable and are much severer in some

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