Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has been used clinically since 1938. Its most common use is in the treatment of depression: first line treatment where rapid recovery is a priority, but more frequently as an effective treatment for patients who do not respond to pharmacological and psychological approaches. Whilst it is widely hailed as an effective treatment, concerns about its effect on cognition remain. The development of magnetic seizure therapy (MST) over the past decade has attempted to devise a therapy with comparable efficacy to ECT, but without the associated cognitive side effects. The rationale for this is that MST uses magnetic fields to induce seizures in the cortex, without electrical stimulation of brain structures involved with memory. MST has been used successfully in the treatment of depression, yet there is a dearth of literature in comparison with ECT. We present a systematic review of the literature on ECT (from 2009-2011) and MST (from 2001-2011).

Original publication




Journal article


Int Rev Psychiatry

Publication Date





400 - 412


Cerebral Cortex, Clinical Trials as Topic, Cognition, Depressive Disorder, Major, Drug Resistance, Electroconvulsive Therapy, Electrodes, Electromagnetic Radiation, Functional Neuroimaging, Humans, Patient Selection, Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT1A, Recurrence, Seizures, Synaptic Transmission, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, Treatment Outcome