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Relative Effectiveness of Various Components of Electroconvulsive Therapy

N. Q. Brill, Evelyn Crumpton, Samuel Eiduson, H. M. Grayson, L. I. Hellman, R. A. Richards

Abstract: Electroconvulsive therapy is a complex treatment which involves at least three factors: (1) introduction of a quantity of electrical current into the brain; (2) rapidly induced loss of consciousness, and (3) motor convulsion. It is the aim of this study to determine experimentally the extent to which each of these components contributes to the therapeutic effectiveness of the over-all treatment. Although ECT is extensively used in the treatment of the mentally ill, it has never been firmly established whether it is the electrical current itself, or the motor convulsion, or the resulting unconsciousness which is the major therapeutic factor of the treatment; or whether the entire treatment complex is necessary. The literature abounds in statistical and case reports comparing various forms of shock treatment, but few controlled studies have been done, especially with regard to the specific aim of this investigation (i. e., to determine the therapeutic efficacy of certain

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