We are one of several sites participating in the Genomics of Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) International Consortium (GenECT-IC). One of the main aims of GenECT-IC is to study the genomics of ECT response and side effects in an international cohort of patients with unipolar / bipolar depression. For full details of the study see the published paper in the European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience.

ECT is one of the most rapid and effective treatments for severe / treatment resistant unipolar and bipolar depressive episodes. International guidelines support the use of ECT where depression is resistant to medication and psychotherapy or where rapid response is desirable such as high suicidality, catatonia, and rapidly deteriorating physical status. However, one-third of those treated with ECT will not respond adequately. In addition, some people who receive ECT will experience side effects such as cognitive problems or raised intra-cranial pressure. Currently there is no way to predict poor response or treatment side effects. Analysis of the genome of ECT treated patients may identify biomarkers useful to predict ECT response and side effects in the future.

Study Aims:

The objective of this study is to identify genetic variants that could be used to pre-emptively detect individuals most likely to respond to or experience side effects from ECT. To achieve this objective we will:

Aim 1: Compare the frequency of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in responders to non-responders in MDD participants treated with ECT.

Aim 2: Explore the combination of specific historical, demographic, clinical, ECT parameter, and genomic variables on response to ECT.

Investigator Team:

Dr. Chad Bousman PhD, Departments of Medical Genetics, Physiology and Pharmacology, and Psychiatry, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta

Dr. Alexander McGirr MD, Department of Psychiatry, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta

Study Coordinator:

Anita Oomen, BSc