Another letter sent this morning by Email to Professor Keith Matthews, psychiatrist on the Advanced Interventions Service (DAIS) based at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee and Head of Neuroscience at the University of Dundee. Copied in to his psychiatrist colleagues at DAIS, the Cabinet Secretary for Health at Scottish Government and her fellow MSP in Dundee, the CEO of NHS Tayside, the Director of National Services Division at NHS and the Head of the Scottish Mental Health Research Network:
Strapline: why are female patients in Carseview Centre Dundee being put under pressure to have ECT?
"Dear Professor MatthewsI am wondering if you can answer this question?
I remember your article and quote in the Courier piece from October 2011: "Professor defends electroconvulsive therapy against Hollywood's portrayal":
where you say "ECT is one of the single most effective treatments in the whole of medicine." A shock to the brain or a knock on the head is more important than for example penicillin or insulin?
And here is a recent article, for interest, by Dr Bonnie Burstow on Mad in America: Protesting ECT: A Moral/Existential Calling:
"That noted, ECT has been proven conclusively to cause extensive brain damage (see Zarubenko et al., 2005) and extensive and enduring cognitive impairment — memory loss in particular (see Breggin 1991 and Sackeim et al., 2007). Moreover, however the so-called therapeutic effect may be theorized, it has been demonstrated to be no more effective than placebo (see, for example, Ross, 2006). Now admittedly, there have been ample studies that report effectiveness. As clearly demonstrated by Read and Bentall (2010) though, such studies are inherently flawed, with, for example, no criterion of improvement provided or improvement being predicated solely on the subjective opinion of caregivers."
"Additionally — and not surprisingly, given what has been revealed to date, as Breggin (1991) and Burstow (2015) have demonstrated — there is a one-to-one ratio between the damage done and the so-called therapeutic effect. An added reality which helps one ferret out the truth of what is happening here is that ECT is overwhelmingly given to two particular constituencies — women and the elderly. (For a strong feminist and anti-ageist analysis, see Burstow, 2006) Albeit the largest and most extensive study in ECT history (Sackeim et al., 2007) conclusively establishes that these are the very groups that incur the greatest damage from the procedure."