Read News Broadcasts of the day From All News Channels in USA , national news, sports, entertainment, finance, technology, and more from USA Today Broadcast

Friday, 26 May 2017

Treating children with electroconvulsive therapy

Electroconvulsive therapy - in which a small electric current is passed through the brain causing a seizure - is now used much less often than it was in the middle of the last century. But controversially it is now being used in the US and some other countries as a treatment for children who exhibit severe, self-injuring behaviour.
Seventeen-year-old Jonah Lutz is severely autistic. He's also prone to outbursts of violent behaviour, in which he sometimes hits himself repeatedly.
His mother, Amy, is convinced that if it wasn't for electroconvulsive therapy - ECT - he would now have to be permanently institutionalised for his own safety, and the safety of those around him.
The use of ECT featured famously in the 1975 Hollywood movie, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, starring Jack Nicholson. Set in a mental institution, the Oscar-winning film cemented most people's view of ECT as barbaric.
But Amy describes the modern version of the therapy as little short of miraculous.
"ECT has been transformative for Jonah's life and for our life," she says. "We went for a period of time - for years and years - where Jonah was raging, often multiple times a day, ferociously. The only reason he's able to be at home with us, is because of ECT."
It's estimated that one in 10 severely autistic children like Jonah violently attack themselves, often causing serious injuries ranging from broken noses to detached retinas. No-one really knows why. Some theories link self-injuring behaviour to anxiety caused by an overload of sensory signals, others to frustration as the autistic child struggles to communicate.
Amy and husband Andy tried countless traditional treatments using medication or behavioural therapy before finally turning to ECT - a treatment that first began to be used on children like Jonah a decade ago, in parts of the US. Each session alleviates his symptoms for up to 10 days at a time - but it's not a cure.
Jonah's doctor, Charles Kellner, ECT director at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, is so convinced it's effective and safe that he allows Amy to witness the procedure and the BBC to film it.
Prof Kellner says the best way to overcome the negative image of ECT portrayed in popular culture is "to show people what modern ECT is really like, and show them the results with patients like Jonah".
Jonah is one of a few hundred children in the US to receive the controversial treatment. He has had about 260 ECT sessions since the age of 11.
Source By BBC.COM
Share:

Search This Blog

Blog Archive

Pages