Antidepressant effects of right versus left unilateral ECT and the lateralization theory of ECT action

Am J Psychiatry. 1989 Sep;146(9):1190-2. doi: 10.1176/ajp.146.9.1190.


In a random-assignment, double-blind, controlled comparison of right versus left unilateral ECT in 30 melancholic men, the two methods were not significantly different in overall antidepressant potency, although there was a significantly faster rate of improvement with left unilateral ECT. These results imply that the antidepressant effects of ECT cannot be attributed primarily to right hemisphere mechanisms, as others have postulated.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy / methods*
  • Functional Laterality*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Random Allocation