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Ind Psychiatry J. 2018 Jul-Dec;27(2):201-205. doi: 10.4103/ipj.ipj_42_18.

Study of memory changes after electroconvulsive therapy.

Author information

Department of Psychiatry, Assam Rifles Composite Hospital, Dimapur, Nagaland, India.
Department of Psychiatry, AFMC, Pune, Maharashtra, India.
Department of Psychiatry, Command Hospital (EC), Kolkata, West Bengal, India.



Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is said to have few adverse effects and among them, cognitive impairment is the most significant side effect limiting its use. However, recent studies have suggested it to be due to illness rather than due to ECT, hence a need to study the memory changes following ECT.


This study aimed to assess the memory changes following ECT and subsequent recovery in the short period of 4 weeks.

Materials and Methods:

Fifty consecutive first-episode cases of depression requiring ECT and scoring at least 27 on initial Mini-Mental State Examination were studied using Becks Depression Inventory and Wechsler Memory Scale III-Indian adaptation at baseline, after six ECTs, and 4 weeks after last ECT. Findings were analyzed using appropriate statistical methods.


Memory improved significantly after a course of six ECTs and further 4 weeks after the last ECT. Depression scores had dramatically reduced after a course of six ECTs. Significant correlation was found between baseline depression scores and baseline general (delayed) memory scores.


The memory changes seen after ECT were likely to be mediated by changes in depression. Probably, ECT had no deleterious effects on memory or its negative effects were more than balanced by the changes due to improvement of depression.


Cognitive impairment; depression; electroconvulsive therapy

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