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Alzheimer and ECT?

F. Frank LeFever flefever at ix.netcom.com
Sat Mar 27 22:19:31 EST 1999

In <009001be77f4$235437c0$131bfbd0 at default> rcb5 at MSN.COM ("Ron Blue")
>ECT has been used to help stroke patents improve.  Has any research
been done
>on using ECT to possibly help Alzheimer's patents.
>Ron Blue

Do you mean ECT or do you mean TMS?  Conceivably one might resort to
ECT for post-stroke depression, but I have never heard of it used for
stroke patients as a treatment for stroke per se.  Ron, you should know
better than make such a flat statement of "fact" without citing some
evidence for it.

Given the pathological processes underlying Alzheimer's, I find it hard
to imagine how one could imagine that it could help.

When I first saw the subject (before reading the query), I expected to
address the question of whether there is a relationship between ECT and
incidence of Alzheimer's or age of development of Alzheimer's.  I'll do
so anyway: there is some evidence suggesting traumatic brain injury is
a risk factor increasing likelihood of Alzheimer's, and although as in
all treatments one must weigh cost/benefit ratios, there is at least
the conceptual possibility that ECT might increase risk of Alzheimer's.
Are their any data bearing on this?  Not that I know of.

If such data are forthcoming, this might be yet another reason to push 
for greater efforts to evaluate TMS (transcortical magnetic
stimulation) as an alternative to ECT.

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

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