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March 1961

"Countershock" in Electroconvulsive Therapy: Influence on Retrograde Amnesia

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Karolinska Institutet (Professor Torsten Sjögren).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1961;4(3):254-258. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1961.01710090040005

Alexander1 (1953) maintained that a nonconvulsive electrostimulation, called by him a "countershock," applied immediately after an electroconvulsive shock (ECS) had the effect that "the rather pronounced memory defects cleared up promptly." Russell et al.12 and Sweel14 reported similar findings, and Fabing7 has speculated about how the memory defect is allayed by nonconvulsive electrical stimulation. Medlicott,9 on the other hand, did not get the impression that nonconvulsive stimulation relieved postconvulsive amnesia or confusion. All statements concerning the problem are based on clinical observations only and psychometric methods have not been used.

The purpose of the present investigation was to study experimentally whether a nonconvulsive electrostimulation ("countershock") after an ECS has any influence on retention of memory material, learnt a short time before the ECS, i.e., whether it influences postshock retrograde amnesia.

Methods and Material  General Procedure.—We chose to

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