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Title: The cognitive impact of electroconvulsive therapy
Author: Falconer, Donald Wilson
ISNI:       0000 0004 2671 5186
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2009
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This study assessed the cognitive impact of ECT using: a paired words and short story test, a spatial and pattern recognition memory subtest, a pattern-location associated learning subtest, a delayed matching to sample subtest, a modified version of Kopelman’s Autobiographical Memory Interview (AMI), and a subjective memory test was also included. Tests were conducted on ECT patients, before treatment (baseline), after four treatments, after the final ECT and one month following the final ECT treatment, to measure short and long-term memory loss. Baseline data was collected from 26 patients, thereafter patient numbers varied (details are reported in the results section). This study found that paired word and a short story tasks were insensitive at detecting cognitive deficits during or after ECT; however a delay of one hour increased the sensitivity of these tests. The visual memory battery detected deficits in visual and visuospatial memory during and immediately following a course of ECT but only spatial recognition memory deficits remained one month post-ECT. The modified AMI appeared to be a sensitive measure of retrograde memory loss. Deficits were observed in both semantic and episodic memory. Memory for recent events displayed the greatest losses. Subjective memory complaints were significantly reduced during, after, and at one month following ECT; however these were highly correlated with depression scores. In conclusion, the battery of neuropsychological memory tests adopted for this study appear to be sensitive to the adverse effect of ECT on aspects of anterograde and retrograde memory loss generally. However, the sensitivity of the subjective test is questionable as outcome on this test appears to be influenced by mood.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Electroconvulsive therapy ; Memory ; Cognition