Pretreatment neurophysiologic function and ECT response in depression

J ECT. 2004 Sep;20(3):142-4. doi: 10.1097/00124509-200409000-00004.


Objectives: Recent brain imaging studies have provided evidence that brain function assessed prior to treatment of depression may be associated with eventual treatment response. The present study tested the hypothesis that brain activity in midline apical quantitative EEG (QEEG) electrodes would be associated with therapeutic response to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

Methods: Ten treatment-refractory patients with unipolar or bipolar depression received a Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (Ham-D) at baseline, during, and following ECT treatment. Resting, eyes-closed, 35-lead QEEG recordings were done 1 day before the initial ECT treatment. Data were analyzed using QEEG power and cordance.

Results: The mean of the theta-band pretreatment cordance from the central brain region was strongly associated with percentage decrease in Ham-D score over the course of treatment (r = 0.80, P = 0.005). QEEG cordance from other brain regions and power from all brain regions did not show an association with clinical improvement.

Conclusions: Depressed subjects with higher pretreatment central cordance appear to be more likely to experience therapeutic benefits of ECT. The location of central electrodes over the cingulate cortex may indicate that pretreatment cingulate activity is associated with response to ECT.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bipolar Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Bipolar Disorder / therapy*
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / physiopathology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / therapy*
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged