History of Shock Therapy


Another review of this book in the NEJM.

The pros:

We learn a great deal about the facts, with a generous sprinkling of anecdotes and judgments about the people who were responsible for the development of ECT. The history that is covered begins with the seizures that were induced by parenteral camphor and continues to our current investigations into the details of how to induce the most beneficial seizures electrically by changing the position of the electrodes, the duration and shape of the electric pulse, and the dose.

The cons

The authors do not offer a critical review of the effectiveness of ECT. This might seem appropriate given that it is a history book and not a textbook, but readers may want to know whether the usefulness of this treatment is clearly documented while they learn so much about its history.