Shock Therapy’s Mystery Closer to Being Solved
While shock therapy hasِ beenِ used inِ psychiatry forِ more thanِ 70 years, researchers hadِ little idea howِ the controversial treatment worked toِ treat depression.
Now, scientists sayِ they mayِ haveِ solved theِ mystery.
It relieves over-communication inِ the brain thatِ mayِ makeِ itِ difficult forِ people withِ depression toِ thinkِ andِ concentrate, saidِ study researcher Jennifer Perrin, a mental health researcher atِ the University ofِ Aberdeen inِ Scotland.
How ECT works
Electroconvulsive therapy, firstِ used inِ the 1930s, involves placing electrodes onِ the forehead andِ passing electrical currents throughِ theِ brain inِ order toِ induce a seizure lasting fromِ 30 toِ 60 seconds.
In theِ early years ofِ the therapy, patients wereِ notِ givenِ anesthesia, andِ high levels ofِ electricity wereِ used.
ECT isِ one ofِ the mostِ effective treatments inِ psychiatry — 75 toِ 85 percent ofِ patients whoِ receive itِ recover fromِ their symptoms, Reid said.
The researchers examined the brains so-called functional connectivity, or internal communication pattern, Perrin said.
The treatment appeared toِ turn downِ anِ overactive connection betweenِ brain regions responsible forِ mood andِ emotion andِ those responsible forِ thinking andِ concentrating, theِ researchers said.
Perrin likened theِ mechanism toِ dialing downِ a stereo that’sِ too loud.
Testing depression treatments
Recently, researchers haveِ proposed depression mayِ beِ due toِ a hyper-connectivity, orِ over-communication betweenِ the brain regions implicated inِ the newِ study’s results.
For theِ firstِ time, weِ canِ point toِ somethingِ that ECT doesِ in theِ brain thatِ makesِ sense inِ the context ofِ what weِ thinkِ isِ wrong inِ people whoِ areِ depressed, Reid said.
Laura Gilley-Hensley, ofِ the University ofِ Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute, whoِ wasِ notِ involved inِ the study.
Pass it on: Scientists may have figured out how shock therapy works to treat depression.
This story wasِ providedِ byِ MyHealthNewsDaily, a sister site toِ LiveScience.
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