Monday, April 29, 2013

Schizophrenia and ETC

      Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it challenging for people to tell the difference between what is and is not real. Other symptoms include the inability to think clearly and have normal emotional responses. Doctors and researchers are still unclear as to what the cause is, but as Jason mentioned in the last blog post, there is a genetic link evident. Regardless of the cause, I was interested in understanding ways that the disorder is treated. Since the mid- 1950’s schizophrenia has been treated with antipsychotic medications. By 1990, a second generation of “atypical” antipsychotics were created. These new class of drugs are effective in treating hallucinations but they come with some serious side effects. A treatment that I was curious about was the electro-convulsive therapy, ETC often used for depression. 

     ETC is a type of electroshock therapy that utilizes electrodes on a patient’s scalp and an electric current is conducted creating a short seizure in the brain. It has been understood that ETC is a beneficial treatment for depression but I was curious as to how it would work with patient’s with schizophrenia. I was able to find a study produced by the University of Ibadan, Nigeria titled “Naturalistic comparative study of outcome and cognitive effects of unmodified electro-convulsive therapy in schizophrenia, mania and depression in Nigeria”. I was unable to gain access to the full text but the study compares the effectiveness of ETC on patients with schizophrenia, mania and depression. The study examined a body of seventy subjects with depression, schizophrenia and mania over six months. They were assessed and interviewed before and after the treatment. The lab results proved that ETC was an effective treatment for patients that were resistant to drug treatment. 

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