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Biol Psychiatry. 1996 Mar 1;39(5):346-56.

Subjective memory complaints prior to and following electroconvulsive therapy.

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Department of Biological Psychiatry, New York State Psychiatric Institute 10032, USA.


Using the Squire Subjective Memory Questionnaire (SSMQ), depressed patients rated their memory functioning prior to a course of brief pulse, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) within the 1 week following the course and 2 months later. Normal controls made similar ratings at comparable intervals. Prior to ECT, patients reported poorer memory functioning than controls. There was marked improvements in the patients' self-reports shortly following ECT, and at 2-month follow-up SSMQ scores were generally comparable in patients and controls. At all time points, the severity of depressive symptoms was strongly associated with patients' reports of memory dysfunction. SSMQ subscales ("depression" and "ECT" items) were not differentially sensitive to effects of ECT or depression. Relations between ECT treatment parameters and changes in patients' self-evaluations only emerged after controlling for clinical state change. Shortly following ECT, there were no relations between SSMQ scores and objective measures of cognitive functioning. However, 2 months following ECT, there was a suggestion that greater retrograde amnesia for autobiographical memories was associated with self-rating of greater memory impairment.

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