Neuropathologic examination after 91 ECT treatments in a 92-year-old woman with late-onset depression

Jason Scalia, Sarah H. Lisanby, Andrew J. Dwork, James E. Johnson, Elisabeth R. Bernhardt, Victoria Arango, William Vaughn McCall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Whereas pathological seizure states, such as temporal lobe epilepsy, are commonly associated with cell loss and glial scarring in the hippocampus, seizures induced via electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) have not been associated with histological evidence of neuronal damage. We present a case report including the late-life medical history and postmortem histology of an elderly woman with major depression who received 91 sessions of ECT during the last 22 years of her life. Given the large number of ECT sessions, and her advanced age, this case provides a strong test of whether ECT causes detectable evidence of neuronal damage. We examined the gross morphology of the hippocampus, hippocampal cytoarchitecture, and measures of neuropathology. We found no pathological changes that could be attributed to ECT. Only expected, age-related features were present. Corpora amylacea and rare neurofibrillary tangles were evident, but we failed to detect any obvious evidence of cell loss or gliosis. Cognition in this patient was intact as indicated by a perfect score on a Mini-Mental Status Examination administered 6 days before death at the age of 92. This case adds to the considerable evidence for the safety of ECT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-98
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of ECT
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2007

Fingerprint

Electroconvulsive Therapy
Depression
Hippocampus
Seizures
Therapeutics
Neurofibrillary Tangles
Gliosis
Temporal Lobe Epilepsy
Neuroglia
Cognition
Cicatrix
Histology
Safety

Keywords

  • Cell death
  • Hippocampus
  • Histology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Neuropathologic examination after 91 ECT treatments in a 92-year-old woman with late-onset depression. / Scalia, Jason; Lisanby, Sarah H.; Dwork, Andrew J.; Johnson, James E.; Bernhardt, Elisabeth R.; Arango, Victoria; McCall, William Vaughn.

In: Journal of ECT, Vol. 23, No. 2, 01.06.2007, p. 96-98.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Scalia, Jason ; Lisanby, Sarah H. ; Dwork, Andrew J. ; Johnson, James E. ; Bernhardt, Elisabeth R. ; Arango, Victoria ; McCall, William Vaughn. / Neuropathologic examination after 91 ECT treatments in a 92-year-old woman with late-onset depression. In: Journal of ECT. 2007 ; Vol. 23, No. 2. pp. 96-98.
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