ECT MachineThe 21st Century Cures Act has a decent purpose to help those with life-threatening diseases by giving them previously unavailable treatment. For example, if someone has late stage cancer he or she could be treated with a relatively untried medication that may have a chance of giving them more time. In this way, lives could be extended or possibly even saved.

It is quite a stretch to add psychiatric devices and drugs with proven terrible side effects to this bill. There is no reason to “fast track” these psychiatric devices through FDA approval lines. Yet this is what is proposed in this bill.

The ECT machine is currently labeled as a class III medical device. Class III devices are considered “high risk.” Although many feel it should never be used at all and is in fact a form of torture, there is a very real threat that the ECT machine could be downgraded to a Class II medical device. This would make the apparent risk factor of the ECT machine and brain stimulating devices equivalent to the risks inherent in powered wheelchairs, condoms or pregnancy test kits. Without question, downgrading it to a Class II device would increase the number of people exposed to it’s brain damaging effects.

ECT Machine an Acknowledged Disaster

Psychiatrist Peter Breggin strongly opposes ECT (Electro-Convulsive Therapy). This is a statement he made on the subject in the Huffington Post:

“ECT causes closed head injury by means of electrically-induced seizures. There can be no doubt that the treatment causes trauma to the brain. The patient is comatose for several minutes in the recovery room and after a few treatments becomes confused and disoriented. A recent study confirms long-term memory loss and other cognitive deficits, which by definition is dementia….large animal studies have shown brain cell death using ECT dosages less than those routinely inflicted today.” 1

The 21st Century Cures Act as it stands now is a scheme to guarantee that inadequately researched devices and questionable drugs flood the market, harming many and lining the pockets of those in the psychiatric and pharmaceutical industries.

John Reed, professor of clinical psychology in Liverpool’s Institute of Psychology Health and Society, describes the results of ECT, “…it causes brain damage primarily in the form of memory loss and cognitive dysfunction, and involves a small but significant risk of death. It is perhaps unsurprising that passing 130 volts through brain cells designed to use tiny fractions of one volt should cause brain damage. It seems odd to have one branch of medicine working on better ways to prevent and treat seizures while another is intentionally causing them.” 2

The original theory of this psychiatric brain-disabling device originated n the 1930s, when it was believed there was a ‘biological antagonism’ between epilepsy and schizophrenia. Because of this psychiatric mumbo-jumbo, those with epilepsy were actually injected with the blood of  schizophrenics, and people with schizophrenia were tortured with ECT’s grand mal seizures.3

Apparently, psychiatry has never seen eye to eye with the scientific method.

Obviously, the lives and health of our citizens are far more important than the bottom line of a pharmaceutical or ECT manufacturing company. And these lives are certainly more valuable than the supposed “authority” of psychiatrists who would rather zap their patients with electricity than listen to their problems. Psychiatric “talk therapy” may not have done much good, but at least those patients were left with their memories and reasoning power intact.

1    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-peter-breggin/not-the-only-psychiatrist_b_813863.html

2    https://news.liverpool.ac.uk/2013/07/25/viewpoint-new-study-on-electroconvulsive-therapy-ect/

3    ibid