Nonconvulsive Electrotherapy: a Proof-of-concept Trial
This study involves pilot testing of a modified version of a proven treatment for mental illness. The treatment, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is used to treat more than 100,000 Americans yearly. ECT is the most effective treatment for major depression, a disorder that affects approximately 5 to 8 percent of the adult US population yearly. It is also an effective treatment for mania and mixed mood states associated with bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder.
The aim of ECT is to induce a seizure, which is thought to be responsible for both its therapeutic and its adverse cognitive effects. The proposed modification consists of reducing the ECT electrical stimulus dose below the amount necessary to induce seizures so that adverse cognitive effects, such as confusion and memory problems, are minimized.
The investigators intend to determine whether ECT-related cognitive impairment can be reduced without diminishing the therapeutic effect of ECT. In addition to distressing patients, ECT-related cognitive impairment has significant public health consequences. These include increased morbidity and mortality among severely ill individuals who refuse ECT due to concern over its adverse cognitive effects as well as increased falls among the elderly receiving ECT. Elderly patients are far more likely to receive ECT and are also more vulnerable to ECT-related cognitive impairment. They often require hospitalization for ECT and a longer hospital stay with greater spacing of treatments to minimize adverse cognitive effects.
The hypothesis driving this research is that electrical brain stimulation applied in the same manner as standard ECT, but at a lower dose, can have therapeutic effects and fewer adverse cognitive effects without inducing seizures. This hypothesis is based on the following: 1) the investigators clinical experience of patients who have improved with ECT despite having only one or no seizure, 2) animal studies showing that electrical brain stimulation can induce antidepressant like effects in animals without inducing seizures, 3) reports from the 1950s that "subconvulsive" and "nonconvulsive" electrotherapy was effective for some patients, and 4) the recent approval by the US Food and Drug Administration of the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation --a technique that uses a magnet to induce an electrical current in the brain without inducing seizures--for treatment of medication resistant major depression.
The primary aim of the research is to conduct a proof of concept, open trial investigating the therapeutic efficacy and safety of nonconvulsive electrotherapy (NET). The investigators plan to enroll 16 subjects, which is the minimum number of subjects needed to show that the therapeutic effect of NET is better than would be expected of placebo. If the investigators show that the therapeutic effect of NET exceeds that expected of placebo and does not induce significant cognitive impairment, then the investigators will go on to propose a blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial that more definitively tests the investigators' hypothesis. The investigators would use the information gathered from the pilot trial to estimate the number of subjects needed to definitively test the efficacy and safety of NET.
The secondary aim of the study is to find out whether NET affects blood levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is a substance that is important to the nervous system and may be related to how treatments like ECT or possibly NET improve symptoms. The investigators would draw a blood sample before and after NET treatment to assess this.
Device: Nonconvulsive electrotherapy
|Study Design:||Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Treatment
|Official Title:||Nonconvulsive Electrotherapy: a Proof-of-concept Trial|
- Change in score on the 21-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale [ Time Frame: 2-4 weeks ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
- Change in score on the Young Mania Rating Scale [ Time Frame: 2-4 weeks ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
- Change in score on the Bipolar Depression Rating Scale [ Time Frame: 2-4 weeks ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
- Change in score on Mini-mental State Exam [ Time Frame: 2-4 weeks ] [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]
- Change in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) blood level [ Time Frame: 2-4 weeks ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
- Change in score on the Autobiographical Memory Inventory Short Form (AMI-S) [ Time Frame: 2-4 weeks ] [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]The Autobiographical Memory Inventory Short Form (AMI-S)assesses effects on retrograde memory for autobiographical infromation.
|Study Start Date:||May 2010|
Device: Nonconvulsive electrotherapy