request good review article (ECT)

F. Frank LeFever flefever at
Mon Nov 16 21:33:42 EST 1998

Again, kkollins pontificates from his position of authority based on no
more than popular fiction (e.g. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest).  Is
your response a joke or are you really ignorant of the practice of
unilateral ECT?  If the latter, wouldn't it be better to listen/read
and learn?  Far from being analoguous to pummeling (with implications
of physical abuse and pain), it is nowadays undertaken with muscle
relaxants (to avoid injury during seizure) and sedatives (to minimize

The relevant mechanism of recovery has something to do with changes in
brain physiology, not "distraction"--still less, "punishment" as those
who ignorantly think of it as a "cattle-prod" procedure applied to the
head might assert.

I can only hope your unfounded but confident assertions do not
discourage someone from taking advantage of a therapy which DOES work
for many depressives who still suffer and do not respond well to any

Your lack of intellectual honesty and humility is especially immoral in
these life and death matters. (Yes, life and death; ever hear of
depressed patients committing suicide?)

Your putting "depression" in quotes suggests you do not take it
seriously as a medical condition--"everybody feels bad sometimes; why
don't they just pull themselves together? get a hobby or something to
distract thenmselves".  Is that your level of understanding? That is

F. Frank LeFever, Ph.D.
New York Neuropsychology Group

In <364FB33D.B0838F32 at> kkollins at
>F. Frank LeFever wrote:
>> [...]
>> ECT works by causing seizure activity in the nerve cells of the
>> What this seizure activity does that is beneficial in treating
>> depression is not so clear, but changes in neurotransmitter balances
>> seem likely.  We are just beginning to understand some of the
>> cellular-level changes involved,
>Ho, ho, ho :-)
>> but the answer may lie in IEGs
>> (immediate early genes), HSPs (so-called "heat-shock proteins"),
>> neurotrophin responses, etc.  In other words, this is a therapy
>> has been developed and applied empirically (i.e. "it works") and the
>> theory lags behind.
>ECT only gives the =illusion= of "working"... might as well put on
>gloves and pummel one... they'd get "distracted" from their
>that way, too, and it'd be a lot cheaper way of achieving the same
>> However there is NO reason to invoke "memory erasure".  If this were
>> the basis, patients who recovered from depression after ECT would be
>> amnestic.
>To a degree depending upon current and its duration, they are... for
>reasons I described in a prior post.
>> Indeed, in an effort to AVOID even transient memory
>> disruption, some use unilateral ECT rather than bilateral...
>"Unilateral ECT"... do they send the patients in to have their brains
>"split" first?
>> And why do we not use MRI to treat depression?  Because it
>> has NO effect on brain physiology. (I am open to correction on this.
>> If someone knows of evidence of some subtle changes, I'd be
>>  I believe some have been seen with deoxyglucose)(sp?) (not my area
>> expertise).
>There has to be a smidgeon of altered-ness because MRI works by
jacking up
>"electron" "states" with a "radio" signal... the image is captured
when the
>jacked-up "states" return to "normal"... it's like a "hiccup" at the
>neuronal level. I'm unaware of any detectable, enduring alterations...
>there aren't any is plausible because everything's "jacked-up", to the
>level, all at once... if there's any net effect, it's probably
>like the stuff of the Relativistic "Twin Paradox" in Physics.
>> Mr. Cheng: I repeat my suggestion to find a less critical newsgroup.
>> No point (pun?) in "crossing swords" with worthy challengers if you
>> incapable of the intellectual honesty of acknowledging when you've
>> "hit".
>> F. Frank LeFever, Ph.D.
>> New York Neuropsychology Group
>> >> =
>> >> >> =
>> >> >

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