Max Fink, MD, Presents at International Congress of Royal College of Psychiatrists in Edinburgh

Max Fink, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology Emeritus at Stony Brook University, presented a Keynote Address at the 2010 International Congress of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Edinburgh, UK on June 22, 2010. His topic was "The Enigma of ECT: Its Darwinian Survival."  

In his lecture, Dr. Fink reviewed the results of a large multi-site study by the Consortium for Research in Electroconvulsive Therapy (CORE), a collaboration of four hospital centers: LIJ-Hillside Medical Center in New York, Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, University of Texas in Dallas, and Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN. The consortium is seeking to identify the best way to help patients stay free of depression after they have successfully completed a course of ECT treatments, and they are looking to determine which method of electrode placement produces the best combination of effectiveness, safety and avoidance of unwanted side effects.

Dr. Fink also discussed the main indications and efficacy of ECT, the superiority of ECT to transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in treating major depression, and the evidence for the neuroendocrine theory of convulsive therapy. ECT effectively relieves melancholic depression and other behavior disorders by the release of peptides from the hypothalamic-pituitary nuclei of the brain, the glands that control mood, sleep, appetites, concentration, and motor activity.

For the UK audience, Dr. Fink congratulated the College on organizing the ECT Accreditation Service that monitors ECT practice.  ECTAS  launched in 2003 is a model of how best to develop and maintain the highest levels of patient care. The Royal College of Psychiatrists is the principal professional organization of psychiatrists in the United Kingdom.