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Electroconvulsive therapy does not increase the risk of dementia in patients with affective disorders
  1. Pascal Sienaert
  1. Correspondence to Professor Pascal Sienaert, Academic Center for ECT and Neuromodulation (AcCENT), University Psychiatric Center KU Leuven, Leuven 3070, Belgium; pascal.sienaert{at}

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Commentary on: Osler M, Rozing MP, Christensen GT, et al. Electroconvulsive therapy and risk of dementia in patients with affective disorders: a cohort study. Lancet Psychiatry 2018;5:348–56.

What is already known on this topic

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is an effective treatment for severe depressive disorders, with older age being predictive of a better outcome. Two earlier small studies have suggested an increased prevalence of dementia in patients having received ECT, but were flawed by major methodological shortcomings. Recent data on both short-term and long-term impact of ECT on cognitive function in older patients are reassuring,1 even in the presence of age-related brain changes.2

Methods of the study

In this Danish cohort study,3 almost 170 000 people aged 10 years and older that had a first-time emergency department contact or in- or outpatient hospital contact for …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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