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J Nerv Ment Dis. 1984 Dec;172(12):711-7.

Cognitive style, cortical function, and electroconvulsive therapy.


Performance on the rod and frame test (RFT) was measured over three separate occasions in three groups of 20 depressive patients and a nonpatient control group. Depressive patients were selected into three groups according to whether they had been prescribed one of three forms of treatment: bilateral electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), nondominant unilateral ECT, or a course of antidepressant drugs. The RFT was administered on three occasions: before treatment, 1 week after completion of treatment, and at 3 months follow-up. The control group received no treatment, but were tested at comparable periods. The RFT was scored as mean absolute error and also as separate frame-dependent, rod-dependent, and constant error components. All depressive groups showed improved error measures post-treatment. The two ECT groups showed less frame dependence post-treatment than the drug group. The group receiving bilateral ECT showed a greater decrease in the mean error of performance than the unilateral group. Right-sided unilateral ECT affected frame dependence in patients who were initially frame independent, rather than in those who were initially frame dependent. The results indicated that the effect of ECT may depend on a patient's initial pretreatment cognitive style.

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