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Many MRI studies have cited major depression, with or without anti-depressive treatment, associated with structural plasticity changing in several brain regions. Few of these studies researched the effect of the anti-depressive treatment, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), on depression.
To assess the influence of ECT on the brain structure change during the treatment process by utilizing the voxel-based morphometry (VBM) analysis.
To determine whether ECT alter brain structure.
We performed HAMD ratings and MRI scans on 12 depressive patients during ECT, analyzing the data by VBM with SPM8 software's family-wise error correction (FWE).
The researchers found volumes changes in white matter in 37 regions between pre-ECT and post-ECT1, but only one region changing between pre-ECT and post-ECT8. Seven regions changing in grey matter between pre-ECT and post-ECT 1⌧but none regions changing between pre-ECT and post-ECT8.
The density changes in several brain regions after a single ECT stimuli, but return to the original level after completing the eighth ECT. Our finding supports that ECT may play a temporary role in treating major depression but do not permanently alter the structures of brain.