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July 1972

Unilateral and Bilateral Electroconvulsive Therapy: Effects on Depression, Memory, and the Electroencephalogram

Author Affiliations

New York
From the Department of Psychiatry, New York Medical College and the International Association for Psychiatric Research, Inc.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1972;27(1):88-91. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1972.01750250076010

The relationship among the clinical, electroencephalographic (EEG), and memory changes occurring with unilateral electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in 85 hospitalized depressed patients was investigated. Treatments were given by the patients' attending psychiatrists, who chose the method of treatment, its rate of administration, and prescribed concurrent psychotropic drugs according to his customary practice. Assessment of treatment outcome was not blind. Despite nonrandom assignment, the groups were equivalent prior to treatment for the variables relevant to outcome. In analysis of the data, differences between treatment groups were accounted for by multiple stepwise regression. The two methods of treatment differed for each parameter studied, with unilateral ECT yielding less therapeutic effect, less memory alteration, and different patterns of EEG change.

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