​The Danish ECT/MRI project

​The project investigates the effect, side effects and risk of relapse in patients with depression treated with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). The project uses the latest MR methods and blood tests, and the goal is to develop a method of predicting how the individual patient responds to the treatment both for beneficial effects and side effects.

​Although electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has been the most effective method of treating severe depression in 80 years, we neither understand its mechanism or background for ECT-related memory problems. This contributes to the fact that we have no reliable predictors that can predict the beneficial effect and the risk of relapse as well as memory problems in the individual patient. In addition, some patients will drop the treatment because of the concern that memory problems are due to a permanent brain injury. Therefore, we are working on the Danish ECT / MRI project, that aims to create new knowledge regarding the above-mentioned issues.​

​Purpose: We want to investigate the brain in patients with severe depression before and after electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), and after 6 months of control with the aim of:

1. throw light on the mechanisms of ECT to find predictors for favorable results, early relapses and side effects.
2. examine the extent and background of the influence on the memory function.
3. examine the brain tissue so that a possible harmful effect of ECT treatment can be excluded.       

Method: In the study we plan to investigate 60 patients, who is referred to ECT- treatment at the Psychiatric Center Glostrup, Amager, Ballerup and Copenhagen due to severe depression. The study will make use of:
1. The most modern MR methods, that examine the brain: 1) Structure 2) Structural and functional connectivity 3) Blood flow 4) Function of blood-brain barrier,
2. blood samples: neural growth factors (BDNF, VEGF) and brain injury marker - glial protein S100B,
3. Thorough clinical study program.

Results and conclusion:
We hope to find predictors that can predict response, risk of side effects and relapse. The predecessors mentioned will enable treatment of the most severe depression to be improved and individualized to a much greater extent than today, whereby the disease prognosis can be significantly improved. We also expect to be able to assure patients and colleagues about the safety of the treatment.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              



​Foundations that supports the  project:                                                     

Ivan Nilsens Fonde

Psykiatrisk Forskningsfond af 1967

​Gerhart Lind Legat

Axel Muusfeldt Fonden

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