​The Danish Neuropsychological Study of Adverse Effect of ECT (DANSECT)

The purpose is to describe the frequency, severity and duration of the cognitive side effects after ECT, as well as find predictors of their occurrence. There will be a special focus on autobiographical memory disorders. The perspective is that you will be able to advise the individual patient better. advantages and disadvantages of the treatment. The project is primarily funded through the Government's SATS-funds.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is one of the most effective treatments for major depression that we have today. After ECT treatment, about 80% of patients typically experience a marked improvement in their symptoms, and i.a. the risk of suicide is reduced quite significantly. However, there is still debate about possible side effects of the treatment, including whether the treatment causes permanent cognitive impairments. Of these, the impact on autobiographical memory function is particularly unpleasant and dreaded. The autobiographical memory constitutes the personal memories of our lives and represents an important part of our identity.​

We will examine the frequency, severity and duration of the cognitive side effects after ECT, as well as find predictors of their occurrence.

DANSECT examines changes in cognitive function level, structural and functional brain changes, changes in the severity of depression and other clinical goals. We are investigating a group of ECT patients and a clinical control group. The first group are inpatients with depression who receive ECT treatment, and the second group are matched patients with depression who are treated psychopharmacologically and / or psychotherapeutically. The examinations take place at three times: before, immediately after the end of the ECT treatment series / just before discharge, and six months thereafter. The trial participants are recruited from the Capital Region of Denmark's psychiatric centers.

​Results and conclusion:
Our expectations for what we can achieve with the project are to improve the counseling of patients who need to decide whether they want ECT. We expect that the project will provide answers to how frequent, severe and lasting the cognitive side effects are. In addition, we expect to be able to find predictors for this. If these expected results are achieved, the long-term goal will be to implement the use of neuropsychological examination and MRI scanning prior to ECT as a practice in the Capital Region of Denmark's Psychiatry and in the rest of the world. In continuation of this, it is expected that the results of the project will contribute to more knowledge about ECT as a treatment method, and thus support the informed basis behind the choice of treatment, for the benefit of both the healthcare staff, the patients themselves and their relatives.

​​Foundations that supports the  project:  

           Gerhart Lind Fonden

Grosserer L. F. Foghts Fond

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