Ictus and Amnesia

  • Iver F. Small
  • Joyce G. Small


Disturbances of memory commonly accompany series of therapeutically induced or spontaneous convulsions. Much scientific attention has been devoted to these phenomena, particularly in psychiatric patients receiving electroshock treatment. These investigations have shown that postictal memory loss is not greatly influenced by premedications, the particular agents used to produce convulsions, or factors related to coexisting mental disorders [1–6], Instead it appears that changes in the physical and electrical characteristics of the seizures themselves are important elements in the production of these postictal sequelae. Modifications of the physical and EEG characteristics of the ictal phase by means of subconvulsive or unilateral ECT or by administration of lidocaine have been shown to reduce the incidence of posttreatment memory loss. Unfortunately though, most of the changes in treatment which reduce amnesia are also prone to reduce therapeutic effectiveness. For these and other reasons, many clinicians have come to regard memory impairment with convulsive treatment as probably a necessary accompaniment of clinical improvement [7–14].


Electroconvulsive Therapy Organic Disorder Paroxysmal Activity Convulsive Therapy Electroconvulsive Treatment 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1968

Authors and Affiliations

  • Iver F. Small
  • Joyce G. Small

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