Consortium receives grant to improve Precision Electroconvulsive therapy for people suffering from depression

A consortium of depression researchers, led by psychiatrist Annemiek Dols, receives 600,000 euro from the Dutch organization for health research ZonMw. With this ZonMw grant, the clinical scientists analyze and advance electroconvulsive therapy for people suffering from depression. The consortium is a good representation of a large national collaboration with eight different institutes on board.

Low application in the Netherlands
Depression, especially when complicated by severe symptoms and chronicity, puts a great burden on patients, their relatives and society. Brain stimulation with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a safe and effective treatment for depressive episodes, even when psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacological interventions have failed. However, the use of ECT is surprisingly low in the Netherlands. This might be due to (1) limited knowledge on the optimal position in the treatment algorithm, (2) lack of knowledge on cost-effectiveness, (3) fear for side-effects and the outdated representation of ECT. The Precision Electroconvulsive Therapy Consortium wants to fill these knowledge gaps.

Online decision-making tool for patients
The ZonMw grant makes it possible to analyze (cost-) effectiveness and side-effects of ECT and compare it to treatment with antidepressants in merged clinical and research cohorts. A prospective study comparing ECT with medication on outcome and costs will add in-depth details to the first step. Together with patients, relatives and referrers, an informative, needs-based, website on ECT with a personalized decision-making tool will be designed. The overall aim is to reduce stigma around ECT and increase knowledge of (cost-) effectiveness and safety of ECT.


The Precision Electroconvulsive Therapy Consortium
From left to right, top to bottom: Annemiek Dols (main applicant), GGZinGeest and Amsterdam UMC - Philip van Eijndhoven (project leader), RadboudUMC - Indira Tendolkar, RadboudUMC - Harm Pieters Spaans, Parnassia - Ben Wijnen, Trimbos - Metten Somers, UMC Utrecht – Jeroen van Waarde, Rijnstate - Esmée Verwijk, University of Amsterdam – Bart Schut, Depression Union.