Everyday memory was mainly affected by bilateral electrode placement during Electroconvulsive therapy. Unilateral electrode placement had no significant effect on everyday memory. The effect of bilateral electrode placement significantly improved at three months of follow-up. One year after discharge the everyday memory was not significantly different from before treatment. ECT does not affect everyday memory on the longer term.
What is everyday memory?
Everyday memory was assessed with the Rivermead Behavioural Memory Test (RBMT).
This test is useful to predict everyday life task memory problems in patients.
This test includes the following subtests:
1. remembering an appointment
2. remembering a short route, immediately and after a certain period (delayed recall)
3. remembering a belonging
4. remembering to deliver a message
5. picture recognition
7. story recall, immediate and delayed
8. remembering a name
9. face recognition.
All very useful daily tasks.
This test was administered to patients (n=96) with a depressive disorder before, directly after ECT and at 3 and 12 months after discharge from hospital.
Interaction between this test and age, severity of depression, and electrode placement was analysed.
Age had a significant negative effect on the scores of the RBMT at all times.
Unilateral electrode placement had no effect, bilateral electrode placement did have an effect on RBMT scores. The scores improved at three months of follow up and were comparable to baseline at 12 months of follow up.
The article: Everyday and semantic memory function in ECT, in the Journal of ECT reporting these results has some limitations. There was no control group involved, the electrode placement and dosage used was based on clinical arguments not on randomisation. This research is done in an actual psychiatric practice.