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Zwanzger, Peter; Klahn, Anna Luisa; Arolt, Volker; Ruland, Tillmann; Zavorotnyy, Maxim; Sälzer, Johannes; Domschke, Katharina and Junghöfer, Markus (2016): Impact of electroconvulsive therapy on magnetoencephalographic correlates of dysfunctional emotional processing in major depression. In: European Neuropsychopharmacology, Vol. 26, No. 4: pp. 684-692

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In major depressive disorder (MDD), electrophysiological and imaging studies provide evidence for a reduced neural activity in parietal and dorsolateral prefrontal regions. In the present study, neural correlates and temporal dynamics of visual affective perception have been investigated in patients with unipolar depression in a pre/post treatment design using magnetoencephalography (MEG). Nineteen in-patients and 19 balanced healthy controls passed MEG measurement while passively viewing pleasant, unpleasant and neutral pictures. After a 4-week treatment with electroconvulsive therapy or 4-week waiting period without intervention respectively, 16 of these patients and their 16 corresponding controls participated in a second MEG measurement. Before treatment neural source estimations of magnetic fields evoked by the emotional scenes revealed a general bilateral parietal hypoactivation in depressed patients compared to controls predominately at early and mid-latency time intervals. Successful ECT treatment, as reflected by a decline in clinical scores (Hamilton Depression Scale;HAMD) led to a normalization of this distinct parietal hypoactivation. Effective treatment was also accompanied by relatively increased neural activation at right temporo-parietal regions. The present study indicates dysfunctional parietal information processing and attention processes towards emotional stimuli in MDD patients which can be returned to normal by ECT treatment. Since convergent neural hypoactivations and treatment effects have recently been shown in MDD patients before and after pharmacological therapy, this electrophysiological correlate might serve as a biomarker for objective treatment evaluation and thereby potentially advance treatment options and support the prediction of individual treatment responses. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. and ECNP. All rights reserved.

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