The importance and historical development of the search for reliable prognostic guides for the electroshock treatment of depressive states is briefly indicated.
The design of an investigation into alleged prognostic indices is described, using a rating scale of depressive symptoms and signs for the assessment of clinical status. Fifty female patients, aged 41–60, with primary depressive illnesses were investigated, their physique measured, and later treated by E.C.T. Re-assessments of clinical condition were made at 1 and 3 months after the completion of treatment, and the association between specific clinical factors and quantitative symptom-ratings examined statistically.
A significant relationship with response to electroshock was found between patient's age, physique and a clinical-item scale (Hobson) derived from the history and examination.
Certain of the results support the view that there are at least two clinically separate varieties of depressive illness.