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Vol. 50, No. 1, 2004
Issue release date: June 2004
Neuropsychobiology 2004;50:48–53

Effects of Electroconvulsive Therapy on Frontal White Matter in Late-Life Depression: A Diffusion Tensor Imaging Study

Nobuhara K. · Okugawa G. · Minami T. · Takase K. · Yoshida T. · Yagyu T. · Tajika A. · Sugimoto T. · Tamagaki C. · Ikeda K. · Sawada S. · Kinoshita T.
Departments of aNeuropsychiatry and bRadiology, Kansai Medical University, Moriguchi City, Japan

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This study was conducted to elucidate the effects of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) on frontal white matter in late-life depressed patients. Diffusion tensor imaging was performed on 8 late-life depressed patients and 12 healthy age-matched controls. The patients were scanned before and after a course of ECT. Fractional anisotropy (FA) was determined in the frontal and temporal regions and the corpus callosum. A significant white matter FA reduction was found in widespread frontal and temporal brain regions in patients with depression before ECT treatment compared with controls. A significant increase in frontal white matter FA was seen following ECT treatment. A course of bilateral ECT ameliorated white matter integrity in frontal brain regions. This suggests a strong relationship with the antidepressant action of ECT.

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