Klinisk institutt 1

Midtveisevaluering - Vera Jane Erchinger

Midtveisevaluering for ph.d.-graden ved Universitetet i Bergen for kandidat Vera Jane Erchinger


Vera Jane Erchinger er tilknyttet Klinisk institutt 1. Veiledere er Leif Oltedal og Lars Ersland.


Effects of electroconvulsive therapy on metabolites in the human brain



Major depression is a serious condition and a major cause of disability. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a controversial yet highly effective and safe treatment for major depressive episodes. ECT has been used for almost a century, and though it has been studied thoroughly, the neurobiological key components leading to ECT’s effect remain unknown. Several hypotheses explain ECT’s underlying mechanisms on a molecular level. Exploring three of these – the anticonvulsive, disrupt-potentiate-and-rewire, and oxidative hypotheses – we studied changes in brain metabolites in patients treated with ECT compared to healthy controls. GABA, glutamate, NAA, Myo-inositol, choline and GSH were molecules of particular interest.

Materials and Methods

We used MR spectroscopy (MRS) to study the change in brain metabolites in vivo of 40 patients and 20 healthy controls. Scanning was performed on a 3T GE scanner system. Tissue correction was performed in Gannet (MEGA-PRESS) or Osprey (for PRESS). Changes in brain metabolites were investigated using R statistical software.


There was no change in GABA levels during treatment and no correlation to outcome. Other results are pending.