Electroconvulsive Therapy and Complaints of Memory Dysfunction: A Prospective Three-Year Follow-up Study

  title={Electroconvulsive Therapy and Complaints of Memory Dysfunction: A Prospective Three-Year Follow-up Study},
  author={Larry R. Squire and Pamela C. Slater},
  journal={British Journal of Psychiatry},
  pages={1 - 8}
Summary Self-reports of memory problems have been evaluated prospectively in depressed patients receiving bilateral ECT or unilateral ECT, and in depressed patients receiving treatments other than ECT. Depressed patients did not complain of poor memory at seven months after hospitalization. Compared to bilateral ECT, right unilateral ECT was associated with only mild memory complaints. At three years after treatment approximately one-half of the persons who had received bilateral ECT reported… 

Long-term subjective memory after electroconvulsive therapy

Although subjective memory improved more often than it worsened when assessed before and after ECT, a majority of patients reported that ECT had negative effects on their memory when retrospectively asked how ECTHad affected it.

Early and Long‐Term Effects of Electroconvulsive Therapy and Depression on Memory and Other Cognitive Functions

The results generally confirm previous reports regarding the nature of ECT-induced memory impairment, in a different language and culture and suggest that long-term effects of the treatment on memory are even less prominent than previously observed.

Distinct memory impairments following electroconvulsive therapy and imipramine

Memory functioning was assessed in 26 unmedicated patients with major depressive disorder and both ECT- and imipramine-treated patients showed a deficit in recent anterograde memory relative to their pretreatment performance, but no deficit in immediate memory.

The effects of electroconvulsive therapy on memory of autobiographical and public events.

The amnestic effects of ECT are greatest and most persistent for knowledge about the world (impersonal memory,) compared with knowledgeabout the self (personal memory), for recent compared with distinctly remote events, and for less salient events.

The Effect of Electroconvulsive Therapy on Autobiographical Memory: A Systematic Review

Evidence suggests that autobiographical memory impairment does occur as a result of ECT and further research is required to determine memory loss associated with ECT, controlling for the direct effects of the depressive state.

Electroconvulsive Therapy and Memory Loss: A Personal Journey

Because of the potential for devastating and permanent memory loss with ECT, informed consent needs significant enhancement until advancing research on both improved techniques and on better predictive knowledge regarding memory loss progresses to making a greater impact on clinical applications.

Subjective Memory Complaints: A Review of Patient Self-Assessment of Memory After Electroconvulsive Therapy

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Delayed amnesia and disorientation after electroconvulsive treatment.

The case of a 39-year-old woman who underwent a course of ECT because of a recurrent major depressive disorder, whose condition appeared to be associated with the electroconvulsive therapy, thereby raising questions about its pathogenicity and management.



Memory complaint after electroconvulsive therapy: assessment with a new self-rating instrument.

It was suggested that a patient's impression of his memory is altered by bilateral ECT and that this altered impression persists in gradually diminishing form for at least 6 months after a typical course of treatment.


Standardized assessment procedures for short term and long term memory are needed, in addition to more sophisticated assessment of memory processes, the duration of memory loss, and qualitative aspects of memories.

Retrograde amnesia following electroconvulsive therapy

A new remote memory test is administered based on former one-season television programmes to psychiatric patients receiving bilateral electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), and it is reported here that memory for temporal order is markedly affected by ECT.


Evaluating one of the recognized negative effects of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) , viz., memory disturbance, is evaluated with the results of psychological examination of the same patients.


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Bilateral and unilateral ECT: effects on verbal and nonverbal memory.

Findings make what appears to be a conclusive case for unilateral over bilateral ECT.

The effects of dominant and nondominant unilateral ECT as compared to bilateral ECT.

Findings that fail to support previous investigations indicating that unilateral electrode placement results in fewer or less severe organic side effects than does bilateral electrode placement are revealed.

ECT: I. Patients' Experiences and Attitudes

Patients who had ECT in either 1971 or 1976 found ECT a helpful treatment and not particularly frightening, but side-effects, especially memory impairment, were frequent.

Convulsive therapy : theory and practice

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