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Those in amoxil price per pill QMB receive additional subsidies for Medicare costs. See 2019 Fact Sheet on MSP in NYS by Medicare Rights Center ENGLISH SPANISH State law. N.Y.

§ 367-a(3)(a), (b), and (d). 2020 Medicare 101 Basics for New York State - 1.5 hour webinar by Eric Hausman, sponsored by NYS Office of the Aging TOPICS COVERED IN THIS ARTICLE 1. No Asset Limit 1A.

Summary Chart of MSP Programs 2. Income Limits &. Rules and Household Size 3.

The Three MSP Programs - What are they and how are they Different?. 4. FOUR Special Benefits of MSP Programs.

Back Door to Extra Help with Part D MSPs Automatically Waive Late Enrollment Penalties for Part B - and allow enrollment in Part B year-round outside of the short Annual Enrollment Period No Medicaid Lien on Estate to Recover Payment of Expenses Paid by MSP Food Stamps/SNAP not reduced by Decreased Medical Expenses when Enroll in MSP - at least temporarily 5. Enrolling in an MSP - Automatic Enrollment &. Applications for People who Have Medicare What is Application Process?.

6. Enrolling in an MSP for People age 65+ who Do Not Qualify for Free Medicare Part A - the "Part A Buy-In Program" 7. What Happens After MSP Approved - How Part B Premium is Paid 8 Special Rules for QMBs - How Medicare Cost-Sharing Works 1.

NO ASSET LIMIT!. Since April 1, 2008, none of the three MSP programs have resource limits in New York -- which means many Medicare beneficiaries who might not qualify for Medicaid because of excess resources can qualify for an MSP. 1.A.

SUMMARY CHART OF MSP BENEFITS QMB SLIMB QI-1 Eligibility ASSET LIMIT NO LIMIT IN NEW YORK STATE INCOME LIMIT (2020) Single Couple Single Couple Single Couple $1,064 $1,437 $1,276 $1,724 $1,436 $1,940 Federal Poverty Level 100% FPL 100 – 120% FPL 120 – 135% FPL Benefits Pays Monthly Part B premium?. YES, and also Part A premium if did not have enough work quarters and meets citizenship requirement. See “Part A Buy-In” YES YES Pays Part A &.

B deductibles &. Co-insurance YES - with limitations NO NO Retroactive to Filing of Application?. Yes - Benefits begin the month after the month of the MSP application.

18 NYCRR §360-7.8(b)(5) Yes – Retroactive to 3rd month before month of application, if eligible in prior months Yes – may be retroactive to 3rd month before month of applica-tion, but only within the current calendar year. (No retro for January application). See GIS 07 MA 027.

Can Enroll in MSP and Medicaid at Same Time?. YES YES NO!. Must choose between QI-1 and Medicaid.

Cannot have both, not even Medicaid with a spend-down. 2. INCOME LIMITS and RULES Each of the three MSP programs has different income eligibility requirements and provides different benefits.

The income limits are tied to the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). 2019 FPL levels were released by NYS DOH in GIS 20 MA/02 - 2020 Federal Poverty Levels -- Attachment II and have been posted by Medicaid.gov and the National Council on Aging and are in the chart below. NOTE.

There is usually a lag in time of several weeks, or even months, from January 1st of each year until the new FPLs are release, and then before the new MSP income limits are officially implemented. During this lag period, local Medicaid offices should continue to use the previous year's FPLs AND count the person's Social Security benefit amount from the previous year - do NOT factor in the Social Security COLA (cost of living adjustment). Once the updated guidelines are released, districts will use the new FPLs and go ahead and factor in any COLA.

See 2019 Fact Sheet on MSP in NYS by Medicare Rights Center ENGLISH SPANISH Income is determined by the same methodology as is used for determining in eligibility for SSI The rules for counting income for SSI-related (Aged 65+, Blind, or Disabled) Medicaid recipients, borrowed from the SSI program, apply to the MSP program, except for the new rules about counting household size for married couples. N.Y. Soc.

Serv. L. 367-a(3)(c)(2), NYS DOH 2000-ADM-7, 89-ADM-7 p.7.

Gross income is counted, although there are certain types of income that are disregarded. The most common income disregards, also known as deductions, include. (a) The first $20 of your &.

Your spouse's monthly income, earned or unearned ($20 per couple max). (b) SSI EARNED INCOME DISREGARDS. * The first $65 of monthly wages of you and your spouse, * One-half of the remaining monthly wages (after the $65 is deducted).

* Other work incentives including PASS plans, impairment related work expenses (IRWEs), blind work expenses, etc. For information on these deductions, see The Medicaid Buy-In for Working People with Disabilities (MBI-WPD) and other guides in this article -- though written for the MBI-WPD, the work incentives apply to all Medicaid programs, including MSP, for people age 65+, disabled or blind. (c) monthly cost of any health insurance premiums but NOT the Part B premium, since Medicaid will now pay this premium (may deduct Medigap supplemental policies, vision, dental, or long term care insurance premiums, and the Part D premium but only to the extent the premium exceeds the Extra Help benchmark amount) (d) Food stamps not counted.

You can get a more comprehensive listing of the SSI-related income disregards on the Medicaid income disregards chart. As for all benefit programs based on financial need, it is usually advantageous to be considered a larger household, because the income limit is higher. The above chart shows that Households of TWO have a higher income limit than households of ONE.

The MSP programs use the same rules as Medicaid does for the Disabled, Aged and Blind (DAB) which are borrowed from the SSI program for Medicaid recipients in the “SSI-related category.” Under these rules, a household can be only ONE or TWO. 18 NYCRR 360-4.2. See DAB Household Size Chart.

Married persons can sometimes be ONE or TWO depending on arcane rules, which can force a Medicare beneficiary to be limited to the income limit for ONE person even though his spouse who is under 65 and not disabled has no income, and is supported by the client applying for an MSP. EXAMPLE. Bob's Social Security is $1300/month.

He is age 67 and has Medicare. His wife, Nancy, is age 62 and is not disabled and does not work. Under the old rule, Bob was not eligible for an MSP because his income was above the Income limit for One, even though it was well under the Couple limit.

In 2010, NYS DOH modified its rules so that all married individuals will be considered a household size of TWO. DOH GIS 10 MA 10 Medicare Savings Program Household Size, June 4, 2010. This rule for household size is an exception to the rule applying SSI budgeting rules to the MSP program.

Under these rules, Bob is now eligible for an MSP. When is One Better than Two?. Of course, there may be couples where the non-applying spouse's income is too high, and disqualifies the applying spouse from an MSP.

In such cases, "spousal refusal" may be used SSL 366.3(a). (Link is to NYC HRA form, can be adapted for other counties). 3.

The Three Medicare Savings Programs - what are they and how are they different?. 1. Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB).

The QMB program provides the most comprehensive benefits. Available to those with incomes at or below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), the QMB program covers virtually all Medicare cost-sharing obligations. Part B premiums, Part A premiums, if there are any, and any and all deductibles and co-insurance.

QMB coverage is not retroactive. The program’s benefits will begin the month after the month in which your client is found eligible. ** See special rules about cost-sharing for QMBs below - updated with new CMS directive issued January 2012 ** See NYC HRA QMB Recertification form ** Even if you do not have Part A automatically, because you did not have enough wages, you may be able to enroll in the Part A Buy-In Program, in which people eligible for QMB who do not otherwise have Medicare Part A may enroll, with Medicaid paying the Part A premium (Materials by the Medicare Rights Center).

2. Specifiedl Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB). For those with incomes between 100% and 120% FPL, the SLMB program will cover Part B premiums only.

SLMB is retroactive, however, providing coverage for three months prior to the month of application, as long as your client was eligible during those months. 3. Qualified Individual (QI-1).

For those with incomes between 120% and 135% FPL, and not receiving Medicaid, the QI-1 program will cover Medicare Part B premiums only. QI-1 is also retroactive, providing coverage for three months prior to the month of application, as long as your client was eligible during those months. However, QI-1 retroactive coverage can only be provided within the current calendar year.

(GIS 07 MA 027) So if you apply in January, you get no retroactive coverage. Q-I-1 recipients would be eligible for Medicaid with a spend-down, but if they want the Part B premium paid, they must choose between enrolling in QI-1 or Medicaid. They cannot be in both.

In contrast, one may receive Medicaid and either QMB or SLIMB. 4. Four Special Benefits of MSPs (in addition to NO ASSET TEST).

Benefit 1. Back Door to Medicare Part D "Extra Help" or Low Income Subsidy -- All MSP recipients are automatically enrolled in Extra Help, the subsidy that makes Part D affordable. They have no Part D deductible or doughnut hole, the premium is subsidized, and they pay very low copayments.

Once they are enrolled in Extra Help by virtue of enrollment in an MSP, they retain Extra Help for the entire calendar year, even if they lose MSP eligibility during that year. The "Full" Extra Help subsidy has the same income limit as QI-1 - 135% FPL. However, many people may be eligible for QI-1 but not Extra Help because QI-1 and the other MSPs have no asset limit.

People applying to the Social Security Administration for Extra Help might be rejected for this reason. Recent (2009-10) changes to federal law called "MIPPA" requires the Social Security Administration (SSA) to share eligibility data with NYSDOH on all persons who apply for Extra Help/ the Low Income Subsidy. Data sent to NYSDOH from SSA will enable NYSDOH to open MSP cases on many clients.

The effective date of the MSP application must be the same date as the Extra Help application. Signatures will not be required from clients. In cases where the SSA data is incomplete, NYSDOH will forward what is collected to the local district for completion of an MSP application.

The State implementing procedures are in DOH 2010 ADM-03. Also see CMS "Dear State Medicaid Director" letter dated Feb. 18, 2010 Benefit 2.

MSPs Automatically Waive Late Enrollment Penalties for Part B Generally one must enroll in Part B within the strict enrollment periods after turning age 65 or after 24 months of Social Security Disability. An exception is if you or your spouse are still working and insured under an employer sponsored group health plan, or if you have End Stage Renal Disease, and other factors, see this from Medicare Rights Center. If you fail to enroll within those short periods, you might have to pay higher Part B premiums for life as a Late Enrollment Penalty (LEP).

Also, you may only enroll in Part B during the Annual Enrollment Period from January 1 - March 31st each year, with Part B not effective until the following July. Enrollment in an MSP automatically eliminates such penalties... For life..

Even if one later ceases to be eligible for the MSP. AND enrolling in an MSP will automatically result in becoming enrolled in Part B if you didn't already have it and only had Part A. See Medicare Rights Center flyer.

Benefit 3. No Medicaid Lien on Estate to Recover MSP Benefits Paid Generally speaking, states may place liens on the Estates of deceased Medicaid recipients to recover the cost of Medicaid services that were provided after the recipient reached the age of 55. Since 2002, states have not been allowed to recover the cost of Medicare premiums paid under MSPs.

In 2010, Congress expanded protection for MSP benefits. Beginning on January 1, 2010, states may not place liens on the Estates of Medicaid recipients who died after January 1, 2010 to recover costs for co-insurance paid under the QMB MSP program for services rendered after January 1, 2010. The federal government made this change in order to eliminate barriers to enrollment in MSPs.

See NYS DOH GIS 10-MA-008 - Medicare Savings Program Changes in Estate Recovery The GIS clarifies that a client who receives both QMB and full Medicaid is exempt from estate recovery for these Medicare cost-sharing expenses. Benefit 4. SNAP (Food Stamp) benefits not reduced despite increased income from MSP - at least temporarily Many people receive both SNAP (Food Stamp) benefits and MSP.

Income for purposes of SNAP/Food Stamps is reduced by a deduction for medical expenses, which includes payment of the Part B premium. Since approval for an MSP means that the client no longer pays for the Part B premium, his/her SNAP/Food Stamps income goes up, so their SNAP/Food Stamps go down. Here are some protections.

Do these individuals have to report to their SNAP worker that their out of pocket medical costs have decreased?. And will the household see a reduction in their SNAP benefits, since the decrease in medical expenses will increase their countable income?. The good news is that MSP households do NOT have to report the decrease in their medical expenses to the SNAP/Food Stamp office until their next SNAP/Food Stamp recertification.

Even if they do report the change, or the local district finds out because the same worker is handling both the MSP and SNAP case, there should be no reduction in the household’s benefit until the next recertification. New York’s SNAP policy per administrative directive 02 ADM-07 is to “freeze” the deduction for medical expenses between certification periods. Increases in medical expenses can be budgeted at the household’s request, but NYS never decreases a household’s medical expense deduction until the next recertification.

Most elderly and disabled households have 24-month SNAP certification periods. Eventually, though, the decrease in medical expenses will need to be reported when the household recertifies for SNAP, and the household should expect to see a decrease in their monthly SNAP benefit. It is really important to stress that the loss in SNAP benefits is NOT dollar for dollar.

A $100 decrease in out of pocket medical expenses would translate roughly into a $30 drop in SNAP benefits. See more info on SNAP/Food Stamp benefits by the Empire Justice Center, and on the State OTDA website. Some clients will be automatically enrolled in an MSP by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) shortly after attaining eligibility for Medicare.

Others need to apply. The 2010 "MIPPA" law introduced some improvements to increase MSP enrollment. See 3rd bullet below.

Also, some people who had Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act before they became eligible for Medicare have special procedures to have their Part B premium paid before they enroll in an MSP. See below. WHO IS AUTOMATICALLY ENROLLED IN AN MSP.

Clients receiving even $1.00 of Supplemental Security Income should be automatically enrolled into a Medicare Savings Program (most often QMB) under New York State’s Medicare Savings Program Buy-in Agreement with the federal government once they become eligible for Medicare. They should receive Medicare Parts A and B. Clients who are already eligible for Medicare when they apply for Medicaid should be automatically assessed for MSP eligibility when they apply for Medicaid.

(NYS DOH 2000-ADM-7 and GIS 05 MA 033). Clients who apply to the Social Security Administration for Extra Help, but are rejected, should be contacted &. Enrolled into an MSP by the Medicaid program directly under new MIPPA procedures that require data sharing.

Strategy TIP. Since the Extra Help filing date will be assigned to the MSP application, it may help the client to apply online for Extra Help with the SSA, even knowing that this application will be rejected because of excess assets or other reason. SSA processes these requests quickly, and it will be routed to the State for MSP processing.

Since MSP applications take a while, at least the filing date will be retroactive. Note. The above strategy does not work as well for QMB, because the effective date of QMB is the month after the month of application.

As a result, the retroactive effective date of Extra Help will be the month after the failed Extra Help application for those with QMB rather than SLMB/QI-1. Applying for MSP Directly with Local Medicaid Program. Those who do not have Medicaid already must apply for an MSP through their local social services district.

(See more in Section D. Below re those who already have Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act before they became eligible for Medicare. If you are applying for MSP only (not also Medicaid), you can use the simplified MSP application form (theDOH-4328(Rev.

8/2017-- English) (2017 Spanish version not yet available). Either application form can be mailed in -- there is no interview requirement anymore for MSP or Medicaid. See 10 ADM-04.

Applicants will need to submit proof of income, a copy of their Medicare card (front &. Back), and proof of residency/address. See the application form for other instructions.

One who is only eligible for QI-1 because of higher income may ONLY apply for an MSP, not for Medicaid too. One may not receive Medicaid and QI-1 at the same time. If someone only eligible for QI-1 wants Medicaid, s/he may enroll in and deposit excess income into a pooled Supplemental Needs Trust, to bring her countable income down to the Medicaid level, which also qualifies him or her for SLIMB or QMB instead of QI-1.

Advocates in NYC can sign up for a half-day "Deputization Training" conducted by the Medicare Rights Center, at which you'll be trained and authorized to complete an MSP application and to submit it via the Medicare Rights Center, which submits it to HRA without the client having to apply in person. Enrolling in an MSP if you already have Medicaid, but just become eligible for Medicare Those who, prior to becoming enrolled in Medicare, had Medicaid through Affordable Care Act are eligible to have their Part B premiums paid by Medicaid (or the cost reimbursed) during the time it takes for them to transition to a Medicare Savings Program. In 2018, DOH clarified that reimbursement of the Part B premium will be made regardless of whether the individual is still in a Medicaid managed care (MMC) plan.

GIS 18 MA/001 Medicaid Managed Care Transition for Enrollees Gaining Medicare ( PDF) provides, "Due to efforts to transition individuals who gain Medicare eligibility and who require LTSS, individuals may not be disenrolled from MMC upon receipt of Medicare. To facilitate the transition and not disadvantage the recipient, the Medicaid program is approving reimbursement of Part B premiums for enrollees in MMC." The procedure for getting the Part B premium paid is different for those whose Medicaid was administered by the NYS of Health Exchange (Marketplace), as opposed to their local social services district. The procedure is also different for those who obtain Medicare because they turn 65, as opposed to obtaining Medicare based on disability.

Either way, Medicaid recipients who transition onto Medicare should be automatically evaluated for MSP eligibility at their next Medicaid recertification. NYS DOH 2000-ADM-7 Individuals can also affirmatively ask to be enrolled in MSP in between recertification periods. IF CLIENT HAD MEDICAID ON THE MARKETPLACE (NYS of Health Exchange) before obtaining Medicare.

IF they obtain Medicare because they turn age 65, they will receive a letter from their local district asking them to "renew" Medicaid through their local district. See 2014 LCM-02. Now, their Medicaid income limit will be lower than the MAGI limits ($842/ mo reduced from $1387/month) and they now will have an asset test.

For this reason, some individuals may lose full Medicaid eligibility when they begin receiving Medicare. People over age 65 who obtain Medicare do NOT keep "Marketplace Medicaid" for 12 months (continuous eligibility) See GIS 15 MA/022 - Continuous Coverage for MAGI Individuals. Since MSP has NO ASSET limit.

Some individuals may be enrolled in the MSP even if they lose Medicaid, or if they now have a Medicaid spend-down. If a Medicare/Medicaid recipient reports income that exceeds the Medicaid level, districts must evaluate the person’s eligibility for MSP. 08 OHIP/ADM-4 ​If you became eligible for Medicare based on disability and you are UNDER AGE 65, you are entitled to keep MAGI Medicaid for 12 months from the month it was last authorized, even if you now have income normally above the MAGI limit, and even though you now have Medicare.

This is called Continuous Eligibility. EXAMPLE. Sam, age 60, was last authorized for Medicaid on the Marketplace in June 2016.

He became enrolled in Medicare based on disability in August 2016, and started receiving Social Security in the same month (he won a hearing approving Social Security disability benefits retroactively, after first being denied disability). Even though his Social Security is too high, he can keep Medicaid for 12 months beginning June 2016. Sam has to pay for his Part B premium - it is deducted from his Social Security check.

He may call the Marketplace and request a refund. This will continue until the end of his 12 months of continues MAGI Medicaid eligibility. He will be reimbursed regardless of whether he is in a Medicaid managed care plan.

See GIS 18 MA/001 Medicaid Managed Care Transition for Enrollees Gaining Medicare (PDF) When that ends, he will renew Medicaid and apply for MSP with his local district. Individuals who are eligible for Medicaid with a spenddown can opt whether or not to receive MSP. (Medicaid Reference Guide (MRG) p.

19). Obtaining MSP may increase their spenddown. MIPPA - Outreach by Social Security Administration -- Under MIPPA, the SSA sends a form letter to people who may be eligible for a Medicare Savings Program or Extra Help (Low Income Subsidy - LIS) that they may apply.

The letters are. · Beneficiary has Extra Help (LIS), but not MSP · Beneficiary has no Extra Help (LIS) or MSP 6. Enrolling in MSP for People Age 65+ who do Not have Free Medicare Part A - the "Part A Buy-In Program" Seniors WITHOUT MEDICARE PART A or B -- They may be able to enroll in the Part A Buy-In program, in which people eligible for QMB who are age 65+ who do not otherwise have Medicare Part A may enroll in Part A, with Medicaid paying the Part A premium.

See Step-by-Step Guide by the Medicare Rights Center). This guide explains the various steps in "conditionally enrolling" in Part A at the SSA office, which must be done before applying for QMB at the Medicaid office, which will then pay the Part A premium. See also GIS 04 MA/013.

In June, 2018, the SSA revised the POMS manual procedures for the Part A Buy-In to to address inconsistencies and confusion in SSA field offices and help smooth the path for QMB enrollment. The procedures are in the POMS Section HI 00801.140 "Premium-Free Part A Enrollments for Qualified Medicare BenefiIaries." It includes important clarifications, such as. SSA Field Offices should explain the QMB program and conditional enrollment process if an individual lacks premium-free Part A and appears to meet QMB requirements.

SSA field offices can add notes to the “Remarks” section of the application and provide a screen shot to the individual so the individual can provide proof of conditional Part A enrollment when applying for QMB through the state Medicaid program. Beneficiaries are allowed to complete the conditional application even if they owe Medicare premiums. In Part A Buy-in states like NYS, SSA should process conditional applications on a rolling basis (without regard to enrollment periods), even if the application coincides with the General Enrollment Period.

(The General Enrollment Period is from Jan 1 to March 31st every year, in which anyone eligible may enroll in Medicare Part A or Part B to be effective on July 1st). 7. What happens after the MSP approval - How is Part B premium paid For all three MSP programs, the Medicaid program is now responsible for paying the Part B premiums, even though the MSP enrollee is not necessarily a recipient of Medicaid.

The local Medicaid office (DSS/HRA) transmits the MSP approval to the NYS Department of Health – that information gets shared w/ SSA and CMS SSA stops deducting the Part B premiums out of the beneficiary’s Social Security check. SSA also refunds any amounts owed to the recipient. (Note.

) CMS “deems” the MSP recipient eligible for Part D Extra Help/ Low Income Subsidy (LIS). ​Can the MSP be retroactive like Medicaid, back to 3 months before the application?. ​The answer is different for the 3 MSP programs.

QMB -No Retroactive Eligibility – Benefits begin the month after the month of the MSP application. 18 NYCRR § 360-7.8(b)(5) SLIMB - YES - Retroactive Eligibility up to 3 months before the application, if was eligible This means applicant may be reimbursed for the 3 months of Part B benefits prior to the month of application. QI-1 - YES up to 3 months but only in the same calendar year.

No retroactive eligibility to the previous year. 7. QMBs -Special Rules on Cost-Sharing.

QMB is the only MSP program which pays not only the Part B premium, but also the Medicare co-insurance. However, there are limitations. First, co-insurance will only be paid if the provide accepts Medicaid.

Not all Medicare provides accept Medicaid. Second, under recent changes in New York law, Medicaid will not always pay the Medicare co-insurance, even to a Medicaid provider. But even if the provider does not accept Medicaid, or if Medicaid does not pay the full co-insurance, the provider is banned from "balance billing" the QMB beneficiary for the co-insurance.

Click here for an article that explains all of these rules. This article was authored by the Empire Justice Center.THE PROBLEM. Meet Joe, whose Doctor has Billed him for the Medicare Coinsurance Joe Client is disabled and has SSD, Medicaid and Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB).

His health care is covered by Medicare, and Medicaid and the QMB program pick up his Medicare cost-sharing obligations. Under Medicare Part B, his co-insurance is 20% of the Medicare-approved charge for most outpatient services. He went to the doctor recently and, as with any other Medicare beneficiary, the doctor handed him a bill for his co-pay.

Now Joe has a bill that he can’t pay. Read below to find out -- SHORT ANSWER. QMB or Medicaid will pay the Medicare coinsurance only in limited situations.

First, the provider must be a Medicaid provider. Second, even if the provider accepts Medicaid, under recent legislation in New York enacted in 2015 and 2016, QMB or Medicaid may pay only part of the coinsurance, or none at all. This depends in part on whether the beneficiary has Original Medicare or is in a Medicare Advantage plan, and in part on the type of service.

However, the bottom line is that the provider is barred from "balance billing" a QMB beneficiary for the Medicare coinsurance. Unfortunately, this creates tension between an individual and her doctors, pharmacies dispensing Part B medications, and other providers. Providers may not know they are not allowed to bill a QMB beneficiary for Medicare coinsurance, since they bill other Medicare beneficiaries.

Even those who know may pressure their patients to pay, or simply decline to serve them. These rights and the ramifications of these QMB rules are explained in this article. CMS is doing more education about QMB Rights.

The Medicare Handbook, since 2017, gives information about QMB Protections. Download the 2020 Medicare Handbook here. See pp.

53, 86. 1. To Which Providers will QMB or Medicaid Pay the Medicare Co-Insurance?.

"Providers must enroll as Medicaid providers in order to bill Medicaid for the Medicare coinsurance." CMS Informational Bulletin issued January 6, 2012, titled "Billing for Services Provided to Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries (QMBs). The CMS bulletin states, "If the provider wants Medicaid to pay the coinsurance, then the provider must register as a Medicaid provider under the state rules." If the provider chooses not to enroll as a Medicaid provider, they still may not "balance bill" the QMB recipient for the coinsurance. 2.

How Does a Provider that DOES accept Medicaid Bill for a QMB Beneficiary?. If beneficiary has Original Medicare -- The provider bills Medicaid - even if the QMB Beneficiary does not also have Medicaid. Medicaid is required to pay the provider for all Medicare Part A and B cost-sharing charges, even if the service is normally not covered by Medicaid (ie, chiropractic, podiatry and clinical social work care).

Whatever reimbursement Medicaid pays the provider constitutes by law payment in full, and the provider cannot bill the beneficiary for any difference remaining. 42 U.S.C. § 1396a(n)(3)(A), NYS DOH 2000-ADM-7 If the QMB beneficiary is in a Medicare Advantage plan - The provider bills the Medicare Advantage plan, then bills Medicaid for the balance using a “16” code to get paid.

The provider must include the amount it received from Medicare Advantage plan. 3. For a Provider who accepts Medicaid, How Much of the Medicare Coinsurance will be Paid for a QMB or Medicaid Beneficiary in NYS?.

The answer to this question has changed by laws enacted in 2015 and 2016. In the proposed 2019 State Budget, Gov. Cuomo has proposed to reduce how much Medicaid pays for the Medicare costs even further.

The amount Medicaid pays is different depending on whether the individual has Original Medicare or is a Medicare Advantage plan, with better payment for those in Medicare Advantage plans. The answer also differs based on the type of service. Part A Deductibles and Coinsurance - Medicaid pays the full Part A hospital deductible ($1,408 in 2020) and Skilled Nursing Facility coinsurance ($176/day) for days 20 - 100 of a rehab stay.

Full payment is made for QMB beneficiaries and Medicaid recipients who have no spend-down. Payments are reduced if the beneficiary has a Medicaid spend-down. For in-patient hospital deductible, Medicaid will pay only if six times the monthly spend-down has been met.

For example, if Mary has a $200/month spend down which has not been met otherwise, Medicaid will pay only $164 of the hospital deductible (the amount exceeding 6 x $200). See more on spend-down here. Medicare Part B - Deductible - Currently, Medicaid pays the full Medicare approved charges until the beneficiary has met the annual deductible, which is $198 in 2020.

For example, Dr. John charges $500 for a visit, for which the Medicare approved charge is $198. Medicaid pays the entire $198, meeting the deductible.

If the beneficiary has a spend-down, then the Medicaid payment would be subject to the spend-down. In the 2019 proposed state budget, Gov. Cuomo proposed to reduce the amount Medicaid pays toward the deductible to the same amount paid for coinsurance during the year, described below.

This proposal was REJECTED by the state legislature. Co-Insurance - The amount medicaid pays in NYS is different for Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage. If individual has Original Medicare, QMB/Medicaid will pay the 20% Part B coinsurance only to the extent the total combined payment the provider receives from Medicare and Medicaid is the lesser of the Medicaid or Medicare rate for the service.

For example, if the Medicare rate for a service is $100, the coinsurance is $20. If the Medicaid rate for the same service is only $80 or less, Medicaid would pay nothing, as it would consider the doctor fully paid = the provider has received the full Medicaid rate, which is lesser than the Medicare rate. Exceptions - Medicaid/QMB wil pay the full coinsurance for the following services, regardless of the Medicaid rate.

ambulance and psychologists - The Gov's 2019 proposal to eliminate these exceptions was rejected. hospital outpatient clinic, certain facilities operating under certificates issued under the Mental Hygiene Law for people with developmental disabilities, psychiatric disability, and chemical dependence (Mental Hygiene Law Articles 16, 31 or 32). SSL 367-a, subd.

1(d)(iii)-(v) , as amended 2015 If individual is in a Medicare Advantage plan, 85% of the copayment will be paid to the provider (must be a Medicaid provider), regardless of how low the Medicaid rate is. This limit was enacted in the 2016 State Budget, and is better than what the Governor proposed - which was the same rule used in Original Medicare -- NONE of the copayment or coinsurance would be paid if the Medicaid rate was lower than the Medicare rate for the service, which is usually the case. This would have deterred doctors and other providers from being willing to treat them.

SSL 367-a, subd. 1(d)(iv), added 2016. EXCEPTIONS.

The Medicare Advantage plan must pay the full coinsurance for the following services, regardless of the Medicaid rate. ambulance ) psychologist ) The Gov's proposal in the 2019 budget to eliminate these exceptions was rejected by the legislature Example to illustrate the current rules. The Medicare rate for Mary's specialist visit is $185.

The Medicaid rate for the same service is $120. Current rules (since 2016). Medicare Advantage -- Medicare Advantage plan pays $135 and Mary is charged a copayment of $50 (amount varies by plan).

Medicaid pays the specialist 85% of the $50 copayment, which is $42.50. The doctor is prohibited by federal law from "balance billing" QMB beneficiaries for the balance of that copayment. Since provider is getting $177.50 of the $185 approved rate, provider will hopefully not be deterred from serving Mary or other QMBs/Medicaid recipients.

Original Medicare - The 20% coinsurance is $37. Medicaid pays none of the coinsurance because the Medicaid rate ($120) is lower than the amount the provider already received from Medicare ($148). For both Medicare Advantage and Original Medicare, if the bill was for a ambulance or psychologist, Medicaid would pay the full 20% coinsurance regardless of the Medicaid rate.

The proposal to eliminate this exception was rejected by the legislature in 2019 budget. . 4.

May the Provider 'Balance Bill" a QMB Benficiary for the Coinsurance if Provider Does Not Accept Medicaid, or if Neither the Patient or Medicaid/QMB pays any coinsurance?. No. Balance billing is banned by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.

42 U.S.C. § 1396a(n)(3)(A). In an Informational Bulletin issued January 6, 2012, titled "Billing for Services Provided to Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries (QMBs)," the federal Medicare agency - CMS - clarified that providers MAY NOT BILL QMB recipients for the Medicare coinsurance.

This is true whether or not the provider is registered as a Medicaid provider. If the provider wants Medicaid to pay the coinsurance, then the provider must register as a Medicaid provider under the state rules. This is a change in policy in implementing Section 1902(n)(3)(B) of the Social Security Act (the Act), as modified by section 4714 of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, which prohibits Medicare providers from balance-billing QMBs for Medicare cost-sharing.

The CMS letter states, "All Medicare physicians, providers, and suppliers who offer services and supplies to QMBs are prohibited from billing QMBs for Medicare cost-sharing, including deductible, coinsurance, and copayments. This section of the Act is available at. CMCS Informational Bulletin http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/ssact/title19/1902.htm.

QMBs have no legal obligation to make further payment to a provider or Medicare managed care plan for Part A or Part B cost sharing. Providers who inappropriately bill QMBs for Medicare cost-sharing are subject to sanctions. Please note that the statute referenced above supersedes CMS State Medicaid Manual, Chapter 3, Eligibility, 3490.14 (b), which is no longer in effect, but may be causing confusion about QMB billing." The same information was sent to providers in this Medicare Learning Network bulletin, last revised in June 26, 2018.

CMS reminded Medicare Advantage plans of the rule against Balance Billing in the 2017 Call Letter for plan renewals. See this excerpt of the 2017 call letter by Justice in Aging - Prohibition on Billing Medicare-Medicaid Enrollees for Medicare Cost Sharing 5. How do QMB Beneficiaries Show a Provider that they have QMB and cannot be Billed for the Coinsurance?.

It can be difficult to show a provider that one is a QMB. It is especially difficult for providers who are not Medicaid providers to identify QMB's, since they do not have access to online Medicaid eligibility systems Consumers can now call 1-800-MEDICARE to verify their QMB Status and report a billing issue. If a consumer reports a balance billng problem to this number, the Customer Service Rep can escalate the complaint to the Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC), which will send a compliance letter to the provider with a copy to the consumer.

See CMS Medicare Learning Network Bulletin effective Dec. 16, 2016. Medicare Summary Notices (MSNs) that Medicare beneficiaries receive every three months state that QMBs have no financial liability for co-insurance for each Medicare-covered service listed on the MSN.

The Remittance Advice (RA) that Medicare sends to providers shows the same information. By spelling out billing protections on a service-by-service basis, the MSNs provide clarity for both the QMB beneficiary and the provider. Justice in Aging has posted samples of what the new MSNs look like here.

They have also updated Justice in Aging’s Improper Billing Toolkit to incorporate references to the MSNs in its model letters that you can use to advocate for clients who have been improperly billed for Medicare-covered services. CMS is implementing systems changes that will notify providers when they process a Medicare claim that the patient is QMB and has no cost-sharing liability. The Medicare Summary Notice sent to the beneficiary will also state that the beneficiary has QMB and no liability.

These changes were scheduled to go into effect in October 2017, but have been delayed. Read more about them in this Justice in Aging Issue Brief on New Strategies in Fighting Improper Billing for QMBs (Feb. 2017).

QMBs are issued a Medicaid benefit card (by mail), even if they do not also receive Medicaid. The card is the mechanism for health care providers to bill the QMB program for the Medicare deductibles and co-pays. Unfortunately, the Medicaid card dos not indicate QMB eligibility.

Not all people who have Medicaid also have QMB (they may have higher incomes and "spend down" to the Medicaid limits. Advocates have asked for a special QMB card, or a notation on the Medicaid card to show that the individual has QMB. See this Report - a National Survey on QMB Identification Practices published by Justice in Aging, authored by Peter Travitsky, NYLAG EFLRP staff attorney.

The Report, published in March 2017, documents how QMB beneficiaries could be better identified in order to ensure providers do not bill them improperly. 6. If you are Billed -​ Strategies Consumers can now call 1-800-MEDICARE to report a billing issue.

If a consumer reports a balance billng problem to this number, the Customer Service Rep can escalate the complaint to the Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC), which will send a compliance letter to the provider with a copy to the consumer.

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Have you can you get amoxil without a prescription ever woken up with a sore throat and used your phone to get a virtual visit?. The odds are it’s not available to you, and there is a reason for that. You may be hearing about how virtual care, often described as telehealth or telemedicine, is beneficial during buy antibiotics and how health systems are offering virtual access like never before.

There’s a can you get amoxil without a prescription reason for that, too. For the past few weeks I’ve seen Facebook posts daily from former nursing colleagues in metro Detroit, one of the hardest hit areas in the country, as they provide front-line care to patients with buy antibiotics. It makes me very proud to call these nurses my friends.

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Several years ago I can you get amoxil without a prescription made the difficult decision to no longer perform bedside nursing and become a nurse administrator. The biggest loss from my transition is the feeling that what I do matters to the patient. buy antibiotics has forced a lot of us to rethink the role we play in health care and what the real priority should be.

Things that were top priorities three months ago have been rightfully cast aside to either care for patients in a can you get amoxil without a prescription amoxil or prepare for the unknown future of, “When is our turn?. € For me, buy antibiotics has reignited the feeling that what I do matters as virtual care has become a powerful tool on the forefront of care during this crisis. It has also shown that many of the powerful rules and regulations that limit virtual care are not needed and should be discarded permanently.

When I became the director of virtual care at our organization in 2015 I knew nothing can you get amoxil without a prescription about telehealth. Sure, I had seen a stroke robot in some Emergency Departments, and I had some friends that told me their insurance company lets them FaceTime a doctor for free (spoiler alert. It’s not FaceTime).

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The need to social distance, cancel can you get amoxil without a prescription appointments, close provider offices, keep from overloading emergency departments and urgent cares and shelter in place created instant demand for direct-to-consumer virtual care. In all honesty, I’ve always considered direct-to-consumer virtual care to be the flashy, must-have holiday gift of the year that organizations are convinced will be the way of the future. If a health system wants to provide on-demand access to patients for low-complexity acute conditions, they will easily find plenty of vendors that will sell them their app and their doctors and put the health system’s logo on it.

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I am fortunate that I work for an organization that understands this and can you get amoxil without a prescription instead focuses on how can we provide care that our patients actually want and need from the doctors they want to see. Ironically, this fiscal year we had a corporate top priority around direct-to-consumer virtual care. We wanted to expand what we thought were some successful pilots and perform 500 direct-to-consumer visits.

This year has been one of the hardest of my leadership career because, frankly, up until a month ago I was about to fail on this top can you get amoxil without a prescription priority. With only four months left, we were only about halfway there. The biggest problem we ran into was that every great idea a physician brought to me was instantly dead in the water because practically no insurance company would pay for it.

There are (prior to buy antibiotics) a plethora can you get amoxil without a prescription of rules around virtual care billing but the simplest way to summarize it is that most virtual care will only be paid if it happens in a rural location and inside of a health care facility. It is extremely limited what will be paid for in the patient home and most of it is so specific that the average patient isn’t eligible to get any in-home virtual care. Therefore, most good medical uses for direct-to-consumer care would be asking the patient to pay cash or the physician to forgo reimbursement for a visit that would be covered if it happened in office.

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The first change that had major can you get amoxil without a prescription impact is when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that they would temporarily begin reimbursing for virtual visits conducted in the patient’s home for buy antibiotics and non-buy antibiotics related visits. We were already frantically designing a virtual program to handle the wave of buy antibiotics screening visits that were overloading our emergency departments and urgent cares. We were having plenty of discussions around reimbursement for this clinic.

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We are holding all of the bills can you get amoxil without a prescription for at least 90 days while the industry sorts out the rules. I was excited by the reimbursement announcement because I knew we had eliminated one of the biggest direct-to-consumer virtual care barriers. However, I was quickly brought back to reality when I was reminded that HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) still existed.

I had this crazy idea that during a amoxil we should can you get amoxil without a prescription make it as easy as possible for people to receive virtual care and that the best way to do that was to meet the patient on the device they are most comfortable with and the application (FaceTime, Facebook, Skype, etc.) that they use every day. The problem is nearly every app the consumer uses on a daily basis is banned by HIPAA because “it’s not secure.” I’m not quite sure what a hacker stands to gain by listening into to my doctor and me talk about how my kids yet again gave me strep throat but apparently the concern is great enough to stifle the entire industry. Sure, not every health care discussion is as low-key as strep throat and a patient may want to protect certain topics from being discussed over a “non-secure” app but why not let the patient decide through informed consent?.

Regulators could also abandon this all-or-nothing can you get amoxil without a prescription approach and lighten regulations surrounding specific health conditions. The idea that regulations change based on medical situation is not new. For example, in my home state of Michigan, adolescents are essentially considered emancipated if it involves sexual health, mental health or substance abuse.

Never mind that can you get amoxil without a prescription this same information is freely given over the phone by every office around the country daily without issue, but I digress. While my job is to innovate new pathways for care, our lawyer’s job is to protect the organization and he, along with IT security, rightfully shot down my consumer applications idea. A few days later I legitimately screamed out loud in joy when the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it would use discretion on enforcing HIPAA compliance rules and specifically allowed for use of consumer applications.

The elimination of billing restrictions and HIPAA regulations changed what is possible for health can you get amoxil without a prescription care organizations to offer virtually. Unfortunately both changes are listed as temporary and will likely be removed when the amoxil ends. Six days after the HIPAA changes were announced, we launched a centralized virtual clinic for any patient that wanted a direct-to-consumer video visit to be screened by a provider for buy antibiotics.

It allows patients to call in without a referral and most patients are on-screen within five minutes of can you get amoxil without a prescription clicking the link we text them. They don’t have to download an app, create an account or even be an established patient of our health system. It saw over 900 patients in the first 12 days it was open.

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A program like this almost certainly wouldn’t exist if not for the regulations being lifted and even if it did, it would have taken six to 12 months to navigate barriers and implement in normal can you get amoxil without a prescription times. Sure, the urgency of a amoxil helps but the impact of provider, patients, regulators and payors being on the same page is what fueled this fire. During the virtual clinic’s first two weeks, my team turned its attention to getting over 300 providers across 60+ offices virtual so they could see their patients at home.

Imagine being an immunocompromised cancer patient right now and being asked can you get amoxil without a prescription to leave your home and be exposed to other people in order to see your oncologist. Direct-to-consumer virtual care is the best way to safely care for these patients and without these temporary waivers it wouldn’t be covered by insurance even if you did navigate the clunky apps that are HIPAA compliant. Do we really think the immunocompromised cancer patient feels any more comfortable every normal flu season?.

Is it any more appropriate to ask them can you get amoxil without a prescription to risk exposure to the flu than it is to buy antibiotics?. And yet we deny them this access in normal times and it quite possibly will be stripped away from them when this crisis is over. Now 300 to 400 patients per day in our health system are seen virtually by their own primary care doctor or specialist for non-buy antibiotics related visits.

Not a single one of these would have been reimbursed one month ago and can you get amoxil without a prescription I am highly skeptical I would have gotten approval to use the software that connects us to the patient. Lastly, recall that prior to buy antibiotics, our system had only found 250 total patients that direct-to-consumer care was value-added and wasn’t restricted by regulation or reimbursement. buy antibiotics has been a wake-up call to the whole country and health care is no exception.

It has put priorities in perspective and shined can you get amoxil without a prescription a light on what is truly value-added. For direct-to-consumer virtual care it has shown us what is possible when we get out of our own way. If a regulation has to be removed to allow for care during a crisis then we must question why it exists in the first place.

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Tom Wood is the director of trauma and virtual care for MidMichigan Health, a non-profit health system headquartered in Midland, Michigan, affiliated with Michigan Medicine, the can you get amoxil without a prescription health care division of the University of Michigan. The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are his own.When dealing with all of the aspects of diabetes, it’s easy to let your feel fall to the bottom of the list. But daily care and evaluation is one of the best ways to prevent foot complications.

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For the past few http://sw.keimfarben.de/buy-amoxil-usa/ weeks I’ve seen Facebook posts daily from former nursing colleagues in metro Detroit, one of the hardest hit areas amoxil price per pill in the country, as they provide front-line care to patients with buy antibiotics. It makes me very proud to call these nurses my friends. As a former emergency department nurse, I recall the feeling of satisfaction knowing that I’ve helped someone on the worst day of their life. One of the best parts of being a nurse amoxil price per pill is knowing you matter to the only person in health care that truly matters.

The patient. Several years ago I made the difficult decision to no longer perform bedside nursing and become a nurse administrator. The biggest loss from my transition is the feeling that what I do amoxil price per pill matters to the patient. buy antibiotics has forced a lot of us to rethink the role we play in health care and what the real priority should be.

Things that were top priorities three months ago have been rightfully cast aside to either care for patients in a amoxil or prepare for the unknown future of, “When is our turn?. € For me, buy antibiotics has reignited the feeling that what I do matters amoxil price per pill as virtual care has become a powerful tool on the forefront of care during this crisis. It has also shown that many of the powerful rules and regulations that limit virtual care are not needed and should be discarded permanently. When I became the director of virtual care at our organization in 2015 I knew nothing about telehealth.

Sure, I had seen a stroke robot in some Emergency Departments, and I had some friends that told me their insurance company lets them FaceTime a doctor for amoxil price per pill free (spoiler alert. It’s not FaceTime). I was tech-savvy from a consumer perspective and a tech novice from an IT perspective. Nevertheless, my team and I spent the next amoxil price per pill few years learning as we built one of the higher volume virtual care networks in the state of Michigan.

We discovered a lot of barriers that keep virtual care from actually making the lives of patients and providers better and we also became experts in working around those barriers. But, there were two obstacles that we could not overcome. Government regulation and insurance provider amoxil price per pill willingness to cover virtual visits. These two barriers effectively cripple most legitimate attempts to provide value-added direct-to-consumer virtual care, which I define as using virtual care technologies to provide care outside of our brick-and-mortar facilities, most commonly in the patient home.

The need to social distance, cancel appointments, close provider offices, keep from overloading emergency departments and urgent cares and shelter in place created instant demand for direct-to-consumer virtual care. In all honesty, I’ve always considered direct-to-consumer virtual care amoxil price per pill to be the flashy, must-have holiday gift of the year that organizations are convinced will be the way of the future. If a health system wants to provide on-demand access to patients for low-complexity acute conditions, they will easily find plenty of vendors that will sell them their app and their doctors and put the health system’s logo on it. What a health system will struggle with is to find is enough patient demand to cover the high cost.

Remember my amoxil price per pill friends from earlier that told me about the app their insurance gave them?. Nearly all of them followed that up by telling me they’ve never actually used it. I am fortunate that I work for an organization that understands this and instead focuses on how can we provide care that our patients actually want and need from the doctors they want to see. Ironically, this fiscal year we had a corporate top priority around direct-to-consumer amoxil price per pill virtual care.

We wanted to expand what we thought were some successful pilots and perform 500 direct-to-consumer visits. This year has been one of the hardest of my leadership career because, frankly, up until a month ago I was about to fail on this top priority. With only four months left, we were only about amoxil price per pill halfway there. The biggest problem we ran into was that every great idea a physician brought to me was instantly dead in the water because practically no insurance company would pay for it.

There are (prior to buy antibiotics) a plethora of rules around virtual care billing but the simplest way to summarize it is that most virtual care will only be paid if it happens in a rural location and inside of a health care facility. It is extremely limited what will be paid for in the patient home and most of it is so specific that the average amoxil price per pill patient isn’t eligible to get any in-home virtual care. Therefore, most good medical uses for direct-to-consumer care would be asking the patient to pay cash or the physician to forgo reimbursement for a visit that would be covered if it happened in office. Add to that the massive capital and operating expenses it takes to build a virtual care network and you can see why these programs don’t exist.

A month ago I was skeptical we’d have a robust direct-to-consumer program any time soon amoxil price per pill and then buy antibiotics hit. When buy antibiotics started to spread rapidly in the United States, regulations and reimbursement rules were being stripped daily. The first change that had major impact is when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that they would temporarily begin reimbursing for virtual visits conducted in the patient’s home for buy antibiotics and non-buy antibiotics related visits. We were already frantically designing a amoxil price per pill virtual program to handle the wave of buy antibiotics screening visits that were overloading our emergency departments and urgent cares.

We were having plenty of discussions around reimbursement for this clinic. Do we attempt to bill insurances knowing they will likely deny, do we do a cash clinic model or do we do this as a community benefit and eat the cost?. The CMS waiver gave us hope that we would be compensated for diverting patients away from reimbursed visits to a virtual visit that is more convenient for amoxil price per pill the patient and aligns with the concept of social distancing. Realistically we don’t know if we will be paid for any of this.

We are holding all of the bills for at least 90 days while the industry sorts out the rules. I was excited by the reimbursement announcement because I knew we had eliminated one of the biggest direct-to-consumer virtual amoxil price per pill care barriers. However, I was quickly brought back to reality when I was reminded that HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) still existed. I had this crazy idea that during a amoxil we should make it as easy as possible for people to receive virtual care and that the best way to do that was to meet the patient on the device they are most comfortable with and the application (FaceTime, Facebook, Skype, etc.) that they use every day.

The problem is nearly every app the consumer uses on a daily basis is banned by HIPAA because “it’s not secure.” I’m not quite sure what a hacker stands to gain by listening into to my doctor and me talk about how my kids yet again gave me strep throat but apparently amoxil price per pill the concern is great enough to stifle the entire industry. Sure, not every health care discussion is as low-key as strep throat and a patient may want to protect certain topics from being discussed over a “non-secure” app but why not let the patient decide through informed consent?. Regulators could also abandon this all-or-nothing approach and lighten regulations surrounding specific health conditions. The idea that regulations change based on amoxil price per pill medical situation is not new.

For example, in my home state of Michigan, adolescents are essentially considered emancipated if it involves sexual health, mental health or substance abuse. Never mind that this same information is freely given over the phone by every office around the country daily without issue, but I digress. While my job is to innovate new pathways for care, amoxil price per pill our lawyer’s job is to protect the organization and he, along with IT security, rightfully shot down my consumer applications idea. A few days later I legitimately screamed out loud in joy when the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it would use discretion on enforcing HIPAA compliance rules and specifically allowed for use of consumer applications.

The elimination of billing restrictions and HIPAA regulations changed what is possible for health care organizations to offer virtually. Unfortunately both changes are listed as temporary and will likely be removed when amoxil price per pill the amoxil ends. Six days after the HIPAA changes were announced, we launched a centralized virtual clinic for any patient that wanted a direct-to-consumer video visit to be screened by a provider for buy antibiotics. It allows patients to call in without a referral and most patients are on-screen within five minutes of clicking the link we text them.

They don’t have to download an app, create an account or even be an established patient of amoxil price per pill our health system. It saw over 900 patients in the first 12 days it was open. That is 900 real patients that received care from a physician or advanced practice provider without risking personal exposure and without going to an already overwhelmed ED or urgent care. To date, 70 amoxil price per pill percent of the patients seen by the virtual clinic did not meet CDC testing criteria for buy antibiotics.

I don’t believe we could have reached even half of these patients had the consumer application restrictions been kept. A program like this almost certainly wouldn’t exist if not for the regulations being lifted and even if it did, it would have taken six to 12 months to navigate barriers and implement in normal times. Sure, the urgency of a amoxil helps but the impact of provider, patients, regulators and payors being on amoxil price per pill the same page is what fueled this fire. During the virtual clinic’s first two weeks, my team turned its attention to getting over 300 providers across 60+ offices virtual so they could see their patients at home.

Imagine being an immunocompromised cancer patient right now and being asked to leave your home and be exposed to other people in order to see your oncologist. Direct-to-consumer virtual care is the best way to safely care for amoxil price per pill these patients and without these temporary waivers it wouldn’t be covered by insurance even if you did navigate the clunky apps that are HIPAA compliant. Do we really think the immunocompromised cancer patient feels any more comfortable every normal flu season?. Is it any more appropriate to ask them to risk exposure to the flu than it is to buy antibiotics?.

And yet we deny them this access in normal times and it amoxil price per pill quite possibly will be stripped away from them when this crisis is over. Now 300 to 400 patients per day in our health system are seen virtually by their own primary care doctor or specialist for non-buy antibiotics related visits. Not a single one of these would have been reimbursed one month ago and I am highly skeptical I would have gotten approval to use the software that connects us to the patient. Lastly, recall that prior to buy antibiotics, our system had only found 250 total patients that direct-to-consumer care amoxil price per pill was value-added and wasn’t restricted by regulation or reimbursement.

buy antibiotics has been a wake-up call to the whole country and health care is no exception. It has put priorities in perspective and shined a light on what is truly value-added. For direct-to-consumer virtual care it has shown us what is possible when we get amoxil price per pill out of our own way. If a regulation has to be removed to allow for care during a crisis then we must question why it exists in the first place.

HIPAA regulation cannot go back to its antiquated practices if we are truly going to shift the focus to patient wellness. CMS and private payors must embrace value-added direct-to-consumer virtual care and allow patients the access they amoxil price per pill deserve. buy antibiotics has forced this industry forward, we cannot allow it to regress and be forgotten when this is over. Tom Wood is the director of trauma and virtual care for MidMichigan Health, a non-profit health system headquartered in Midland, Michigan, affiliated with Michigan Medicine, the health care division of the University of Michigan.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are his own.When dealing with all of the aspects of diabetes, it’s easy to let amoxil price per pill your feel fall to the bottom of the list. But daily care and evaluation is one of the best ways to prevent foot complications. It’s important to identify your risk factors and take the proper steps in limiting your complications. Two of the biggest complications with diabetes are peripheral neuropathy amoxil price per pill and ulcer/amputation.

Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include numbness, tingling and/or burning in your feet and legs. You can slow the progression of developing neuropathy by making it a point to manage your blood sugars and keep them in the normal range. If you are experiencing amoxil price per pill these symptoms, it is important to establish and maintain a relationship with a podiatrist. Your podiatrist can make sure things are looking healthy and bring things to your attention to monitor and keep a close eye on.

Open wounds or ulcers can develop secondary to trauma, pressure, diabetes, neuropathy or poor circulation. If ulcerations do develop, it’s extremely important to identify the amoxil price per pill cause and address it. Ulcers can get worse quickly, so it’s necessary to seek immediate medical treatment if you find yourself or a loved one dealing with this complication. Untreated ulcerations often lead to amputation and can be avoided if proper medical attention is sought right away.

There are important things to remember when amoxil price per pill dealing with diabetic foot care. It’s very important to inspect your feet daily, especially if you have peripheral neuropathy. You may have a cut or a sore on your feet that you can’t feel, so your body doesn’t alarm you to check your feet. Be gentle when bathing your amoxil price per pill feet.

Moisturize your feet, but not between your toes. Do not treat calluses or corns on your own. Wear clean, dry amoxil price per pill socks. Never walk barefoot, and consider socks and shoes made specifically for patients with diabetes.

Kristin Raleigh, D.P.M., is a podiatrist who sees patients at Foot &. Ankle Specialists of Mid-Michigan in Midland.

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Dewsnap C, browse around this web-site Sauer U, Evans C amoxil online canada. Sex Transm Infect 2020;96:79. Doi. 10.1136/sextrans-2019-054397This article was previously published with missing information. Please note the below:The authors would like to acknowledge their gratitude to Daniel Richardson, Zara Haider, Ceri Evans, Janet Michaelis and Elizabeth Foley for providing a helpful format for this piece.Richardson D, Haider Z, Evans C, et al.

The joint BASHH-FSRH conference. Sex Transm Infect 2017;93:380. Doi. 10.1136/sextrans-2017-053184Using cytokine expression to distinguish between active and treated syphilis. Promising but not yet ready for prime timeDistinguishing between previously treated and active syphilis can be challenging in the subset of treated patients with serofast status, defined as persistent non-treponemal seropositivity (<4-fold decline in rapid plasma reagin titre ≥6 months after treatment).

The study investigated whether serum cytokine expression levels, measured with a 62-cytokine multiplex bead-based ELISA, can help guide clinical management. Using samples from patients with active, treated and serofast syphilis, the authors developed a two-cytokine (brain-derived neurotrophic factor and tumour necrosis factor β) decision tree that showed good accuracy (82%) and sensitivity (100%) but moderate specificity (45%). While further studies will be needed to confirm and refine the diagnostic algorithm, there also remain important technical, operational and financial barriers to implementing such cytokine assays in routine care.Kojima N, Siebert JC, Maecker H, et al. The application of cytokine expression assays to differentiate active from previously treated syphilis. J Infect Dis.

2020 [published online ahead of print, 2020 Mar 19].Global and regional prevalence of herpes simplex amoxil type 2 . Updated estimates for people aged 15–49 yearsEstimates of genital herpes simplex amoxil (HSV) s across regions inform advocacy and resource planning and guide the development of improved control measures, including treatments. In 2016, HSV-2 affected 13% of the global population aged 15–49 years (high-risk groups excluded), totalling 491 million people. Of note, by excluding people aged >49 years, the analysis knowingly underestimated the true burden of HSV-2 .1 Prevalence showed a slight increase relative to 2012 and was highest in Africa and Americas and among women. Given the association between HSV-2 and subsequent HIV ,2 it is concerning that HSV-2 was estimated to affect ~50% of women aged 25–34 years in the African region.

The analysis also estimated the prevalence of genital HSV-1 (3%), but uncertainty intervals were wide.James C, Harfouche M, Welton NJ, et al. Herpes simplex amoxil. Global prevalence and incidence estimates, 2016. Bull World Health Organ. 2020.

98. 315-329.Observed pregnancy and neonatal outcomes in women with HIV exposed to recommended antiretroviral regimensThis large Italian observational cohort study analysed data from 794 pregnant women who were exposed within 32 weeks of gestation to recommended antiretroviral regimens in the period 2008–2018. Treatment comprised three-drug combinations of an nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) backbone plus a ritonavir-boosted protease inhibitor (78%, predominantly atazanavir), an non-NRTI (NNRTI) (15%, predominantly nevirapine) or an integrase strand transfer inhibitor (INSTI. 6%, predominantly raltegravir). No major differences were found for a wide range of pregnancy and neonatal outcomes, including major congenital defects.

The rate of HIV transmission ranged up http://sw.keimfarben.de/buy-amoxil-usa/ to 2.4% in this study. This comprehensive evaluation will be useful for clinicians caring for women with HIV. More outcome data are needed for regimens comprising second-generation INSTIs.Floridia M, Dalzero S, Giacomet V, et al. Pregnancy and neonatal outcomes in women with HIV-1 exposed to integrase inhibitors, protease inhibitors and non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. An observational study.

2020;48:249–258.HIV status and sexual practice independently correlate with gut dysbiosis and unique microbiota signaturesGut dysbiosis may contribute to persistent inflammation in people with HIV (PWH) who receive antiretroviral therapy (ART). The study compared the gut microbiota of ART-treated PWH and HIV-negative controls matched for age, gender, country of birth, body mass index and sexual practice. Regardless of sex and sexual practice, the gut microbiota differed significantly in PWH vrsus controls, with expansion of proinflammatory gut bacteria and depletion of homeostasis-promoting microbiota members. The extent of dysbiosis correlated with serum inflammatory markers, nadir and pre-ART CD4 cell counts, and prevalence of non-infectious comorbidities. Further studies are warranted to elucidate causality and investigate microbiota-mediated strategies to alleviate HIV-associated inflammation.

Independent of HIV status, and in both men and women, receptive anal intercourse was associated with a unique microbiota signature.Vujkovic-Cvijin I, Sortino O, Verheij E, et al. HIV-associated gut dysbiosis is independent of sexual practice and correlates with non-communicable diseases. Nat Commun. 2020;11:2448.Reducing the cost of molecular STI screening in resource-limited settings. An optimised sample-pooling algorithms with Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG) are frequently asymptomatic and, if untreated, may lead to severe reproductive complications in women.

Molecular testing is highly sensitive but costly, especially for resource-limited settings. This modelling study explored a sample pooling strategy for CT and NG testing among women in Zambia. Based on cross-sectional data, participants were stratified into high, intermediate and low prevalence groups, and the respective specimens were mathematically modelled to be tested individually, in pools of 3, or pools of 4, using the GeneXpert instrument. Overall, the pooling strategy was found to maintain acceptable sensitivity (ranging from 80% to 100%), while significantly lowering cost per sample. Investigation in additional cohorts will validate whether the approach may increase access to STI screening where resourced are constrained.Connolly S, Kilembe W, Inambao M, et al.

A population-specific optimized GeneXpert pooling algorithm for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae to reduce cost of molecular STI screening in resource-limited settings. J Clin Microbiol. 2020 [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jun 10].Girl-only HPV vaccination can eliminate cervical cancer in most low and lower middle income countries by the end of the century, but must be supplemented by screening in high incidence countriesProgress towards the global elimination of cervical cancer must include effective interventions in lower-middle income countries (LMICs). The study modelled the effect over the next century of girls-only human papilloma amoxil (HPV) vaccination with or without once-lifetime or twice-lifetime cervical screening in 78 LMICs, assuming 90% treatment coverage, 100% lifetime protection and screening uptake increasing from 45% (2023) to 90% (2045 onwards). Vaccination alone would substantially reduce cancer incidence (61 million cases averted) and achieve elimination (<5 cases per 100 000 women-years) in 60% of LMICs.

However, high-incidence countries, predominantly in Africa, might not reach elimination by vaccination alone. Adding twice-lifetime screening would achieve elimination of cervical cancer in 100% of LMICs. Results have informed the targets of 90% HPV vaccination coverage, 70% screening coverage and 90% of cervical lesions treated by 2030 recently announced by the WHO.Brisson M, Kim JJ, Canfell K, et al. Impact of HPV vaccination and cervical screening on cervical cancer elimination. A comparative modelling analysis in 78 low-income and lower-middle-income countries.

Dewsnap C, Sauer buy cheap amoxil online U, amoxil price per pill Evans C. Sex Transm Infect 2020;96:79. Doi.

10.1136/sextrans-2019-054397This article was previously published with missing information. Please note the below:The authors would like to acknowledge their gratitude to Daniel Richardson, Zara Haider, Ceri Evans, Janet Michaelis and Elizabeth Foley for providing a helpful format for this piece.Richardson D, Haider Z, Evans C, et al. The joint BASHH-FSRH conference.

Sex Transm Infect 2017;93:380. Doi. 10.1136/sextrans-2017-053184Using cytokine expression to distinguish between active and treated syphilis.

Promising but not yet ready for prime timeDistinguishing between previously treated and active syphilis can be challenging in the subset of treated patients with serofast status, defined as persistent non-treponemal seropositivity (<4-fold decline in rapid plasma reagin titre ≥6 months after treatment). The study investigated whether serum cytokine expression levels, measured with a 62-cytokine multiplex bead-based ELISA, can help guide clinical management. Using samples from patients with active, treated and serofast syphilis, the authors developed a two-cytokine (brain-derived neurotrophic factor and tumour necrosis factor β) decision tree that showed good accuracy (82%) and sensitivity (100%) but moderate specificity (45%).

While further studies will be needed to confirm and refine the diagnostic algorithm, there also remain important technical, operational and financial barriers to implementing such cytokine assays in routine care.Kojima N, Siebert JC, Maecker H, et al. The application of cytokine expression assays to differentiate active from previously treated syphilis. J Infect Dis.

2020 [published online ahead of print, 2020 Mar 19].Global and regional prevalence of herpes simplex amoxil type 2 . Updated estimates for people aged 15–49 yearsEstimates of genital herpes simplex amoxil (HSV) s across regions inform advocacy and resource planning and guide the development of improved control measures, including treatments. In 2016, HSV-2 affected 13% of the global population aged 15–49 years (high-risk groups excluded), totalling 491 million people.

Of note, by excluding people aged >49 years, the analysis knowingly underestimated the true burden of HSV-2 .1 Prevalence showed a slight increase relative to 2012 and was highest in Africa and Americas and among women. Given the association between HSV-2 and subsequent HIV ,2 it is concerning that HSV-2 was estimated to affect ~50% of women aged 25–34 years in the African region. The analysis also estimated the prevalence of genital HSV-1 (3%), but uncertainty intervals were wide.James C, Harfouche M, Welton NJ, et al.

Herpes simplex amoxil. Global prevalence and incidence estimates, 2016. Bull World Health Organ.

2020. 98. 315-329.Observed pregnancy and neonatal outcomes in women with HIV exposed to recommended antiretroviral regimensThis large Italian observational cohort study analysed data from 794 pregnant women who were exposed within 32 weeks of gestation to recommended antiretroviral regimens in the period 2008–2018.

Treatment comprised three-drug combinations of an nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) backbone plus a ritonavir-boosted protease inhibitor (78%, predominantly atazanavir), an non-NRTI (NNRTI) (15%, predominantly nevirapine) or an integrase strand transfer inhibitor (INSTI. 6%, predominantly raltegravir). No major differences were found for a wide range of pregnancy and neonatal outcomes, including major congenital defects.

The rate of HIV transmission ranged up to 2.4% in this study. This comprehensive evaluation will be useful for clinicians caring for women with HIV. More outcome data are needed for regimens comprising second-generation INSTIs.Floridia M, Dalzero S, Giacomet V, et al.

Pregnancy and neonatal outcomes in women with HIV-1 exposed to integrase inhibitors, protease inhibitors and non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. An observational study. 2020;48:249–258.HIV status and sexual practice independently correlate with gut dysbiosis and unique microbiota signaturesGut dysbiosis may contribute to persistent inflammation in people with HIV (PWH) who receive antiretroviral therapy (ART).

The study compared the gut microbiota of ART-treated PWH and HIV-negative controls matched for age, gender, country of birth, body mass index and sexual practice. Regardless of sex and sexual practice, the gut microbiota differed significantly in PWH vrsus controls, with expansion of proinflammatory gut bacteria and depletion of homeostasis-promoting microbiota members. The extent of dysbiosis correlated with serum inflammatory markers, nadir and pre-ART CD4 cell counts, and prevalence of non-infectious comorbidities.

Further studies are warranted to elucidate causality and investigate microbiota-mediated strategies to alleviate HIV-associated inflammation. Independent of HIV status, and in both men and women, receptive anal intercourse was associated with a unique microbiota signature.Vujkovic-Cvijin I, Sortino O, Verheij E, et al. HIV-associated gut dysbiosis is independent of sexual practice and correlates with non-communicable diseases.

Nat Commun. 2020;11:2448.Reducing the cost of molecular STI screening in resource-limited settings. An optimised sample-pooling algorithms with Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG) are frequently asymptomatic and, if untreated, may lead to severe reproductive complications in women.

Molecular testing is highly sensitive but costly, especially for resource-limited settings. This modelling study explored a sample pooling strategy for CT and NG testing among women in Zambia. Based on cross-sectional data, participants were stratified into high, intermediate and low prevalence groups, and the respective specimens were mathematically modelled to be tested individually, in pools of 3, or pools of 4, using the GeneXpert instrument.

Overall, the pooling strategy was found to maintain acceptable sensitivity (ranging from 80% to 100%), while significantly lowering cost per sample. Investigation in additional cohorts will validate whether the approach may increase access to STI screening where resourced are constrained.Connolly S, Kilembe W, Inambao M, et al. A population-specific optimized GeneXpert pooling algorithm for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae to reduce cost of molecular STI screening in resource-limited settings.

J Clin Microbiol. 2020 [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jun 10].Girl-only HPV vaccination can eliminate cervical cancer in most low and lower middle income countries by the end of the century, but must be supplemented by screening in high incidence countriesProgress towards the global elimination of cervical cancer must include effective interventions in lower-middle income countries (LMICs). The study modelled the effect over the next century of girls-only human papilloma amoxil (HPV) vaccination with or without once-lifetime or twice-lifetime cervical screening in 78 LMICs, assuming 90% treatment coverage, 100% lifetime protection and screening uptake increasing from 45% (2023) to 90% (2045 onwards).

Vaccination alone would substantially reduce cancer incidence (61 million cases averted) and achieve elimination (<5 cases per 100 000 women-years) in 60% of LMICs. However, high-incidence countries, predominantly in Africa, might not reach elimination by vaccination alone. Adding twice-lifetime screening would achieve elimination of cervical cancer in 100% of LMICs.

Results have informed the targets of 90% HPV vaccination coverage, 70% screening coverage and 90% of cervical lesions treated by 2030 recently announced by the WHO.Brisson M, Kim JJ, Canfell K, et al. Impact of HPV vaccination and cervical screening on cervical cancer elimination. A comparative modelling analysis in 78 low-income and lower-middle-income countries.

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How to cite this article:Singh amoxil for strep throat http://sw.keimfarben.de/how-to-get-amoxil-over-the-counter/ O P. Aftermath of celebrity suicide – Media coverage and role of psychiatrists. Indian J Psychiatry 2020;62:337-8Celebrity suicide is one of the highly publicized events amoxil for strep throat in our country. Indians got a glimpse of this following an unfortunate incident where a popular Hindi film actor died of suicide. As expected, the amoxil for strep throat media went into a frenzy as newspapers, news channels, and social media were full of stories providing minute details of the suicidal act.

Some even going as far as highlighting the color of the cloth used in the suicide as well as showing the lifeless body of the actor. All kinds of personal details were dug up, and speculations and hypotheses became the order of the day in the next few days that followed. In the process, amoxil for strep throat reputations of many people associated with the actor were besmirched and their private and personal details were freely and blatantly broadcast and discussed on electronic, print, and social media. We understand that media houses have their own need and duty to report and sensationalize news for increasing their visibility (aka TRP), but such reporting has huge impacts on the mental health of the vulnerable population.The impact of this was soon realized when many incidents of copycat suicide were reported from all over the country within a few days of the incident. Psychiatrists suddenly started getting distress calls from their amoxil for strep throat patients in despair with increased suicidal ideation.

This has become a major area of concern for the psychiatry community.The Indian Psychiatric Society has been consistently trying to engage with media to promote ethical reporting of suicide. Section 24 (1) of Mental Health Care Act, 2017, forbids publication of photograph of mentally ill person without his consent.[1] The Press Council of amoxil for strep throat India has adopted the guidelines of World Health Organization report on Preventing Suicide. A resource for media professionals, which came out with an advisory to be followed by media in reporting cases of suicide. It includes points forbidding them from putting stories in prominent positions and unduly repeating them, explicitly describing the method used, providing details about the site/location, using sensational headlines, or using photographs and video footage of the incident.[2] Unfortunately, the advisory seems to have little effect in the aftermath of celebrity suicides. Channels were full of speculations about the person's mental amoxil for strep throat condition and illness and also his relationships and finances.

Many fictional accounts of his symptoms and illness were touted, which is not only against the ethics but is also contrary to MHCA, 2017.[1]It went to the extent that the name of his psychiatrist was mentioned and quotes were attributed to him without taking any account from him. The Indian Psychiatric Society has written to the Press Council of India underlining this concern and asking for measures to ensure ethics in reporting suicide.While there is amoxil for strep throat a need for engagement with media to make them aware of the grave impact of negative suicide reporting on the lives of many vulnerable persons, there is even a more urgent need for training of psychiatrists regarding the proper way of interaction with media. This has been amply brought out in the aftermath of this incident. Many psychiatrists and mental health professionals were called by amoxil for strep throat media houses to comment on the episode. Many psychiatrists were quoted, or “misquoted,” or “quoted out of context,” commenting on the life of a person whom they had never examined and had no “professional authority” to do so.

There were even stories with byline of a psychiatrist where the content provided was not only unscientific but also way beyond the expertise of a psychiatrist. These types of viewpoints perpetuate stigma, myths, and amoxil for strep throat “misleading concepts” about psychiatry and are detrimental to the image of psychiatry in addition to doing harm and injustice to our patients. Hence, the need to formulate a guideline for interaction of psychiatrists with the media is imperative.In the infamous Goldwater episode, 12,356 psychiatrists were asked to cast opinion about the fitness of Barry Goldwater for presidential candidature. Out of 2417 respondents, 1189 psychiatrists reported him to be mentally unfit while none had actually examined him.[3] This led to the formulation amoxil for strep throat of “The Goldwater Rule” by the American Psychiatric Association in 1973,[4] but we have witnessed the same phenomenon at the time of presidential candidature of Donald Trump.Psychiatrists should be encouraged to interact with media to provide scientific information about mental illnesses and reduction of stigma, but “statements to the media” can be a double-edged sword, and we should know about the rules of engagements and boundaries of interactions. Methods and principles of interaction with media should form a part of our training curriculum.

Many professional societies have guidelines and resource books for interacting with media, and amoxil for strep throat psychiatrists should familiarize themselves with these documents. The Press Council guideline is likely to prompt reporters to seek psychiatrists for their expert opinion. It is useful for them to have a template ready with suicide rates, emphasizing multicausality of suicide, role of mental disorders, as well as help available.[5]It is about time that the Indian Psychiatric Society formulated its own guidelines laying down the broad principles and boundaries governing the interaction of Indian psychiatrists with the media. Till then, it is desirable to be guided by the following broad principles:It should be assumed that no statement goes “off the record” as the media person is most likely recording the interview, and we should also record any such conversation from our endIt should be clarified in which capacity comments are being made – professional, personal, amoxil for strep throat or as a representative of an organizationOne should not comment on any person whom he has not examinedPsychiatrists should take any such opportunity to educate the public about mental health issuesThe comments should be justified and limited by the boundaries of scientific knowledge available at the moment. References Correspondence Address:Dr.

O P amoxil for strep throat SinghAA 304, Ashabari Apartments, O/31, Baishnabghata, Patuli Township, Kolkata - 700 094, West Bengal IndiaSource of Support. None, Conflict of Interest. NoneDOI. 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_816_20Abstract Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is an effective modality of treatment for a variety of psychiatric disorders. However, it has always been accused of being a coercive, unethical, and dangerous modality of treatment.

The dangerousness of ECT has been mainly attributed to its claimed ability to cause brain damage. This narrative review aims to provide an update of the evidence with regard to whether the practice of ECT is associated with damage to the brain. An accepted definition of brain damage remains elusive. There are also ethical and technical problems in designing studies that look at this question specifically. Thus, even though there are newer technological tools and innovations, any review attempting to answer this question would have to take recourse to indirect methods.

These include structural, functional, and metabolic neuroimaging. Body fluid biochemical marker studies. And follow-up studies of cognitive impairment and incidence of dementia in people who have received ECT among others. The review of literature and present evidence suggests that ECT has a demonstrable impact on the structure and function of the brain. However, there is a lack of evidence at present to suggest that ECT causes brain damage.Keywords.

Adverse effect, brain damage, electroconvulsive therapyHow to cite this article:Jolly AJ, Singh SM. Does electroconvulsive therapy cause brain damage. An update. Indian J Psychiatry 2020;62:339-53 Introduction Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) as a modality of treatment for psychiatric disorders has existed at least since 1938.[1] ECT is an effective modality of treatment for various psychiatric disorders. However, from the very beginning, the practice of ECT has also faced resistance from various groups who claim that it is coercive and harmful.[2] While the ethical aspects of the practice of ECT have been dealt with elsewhere, the question of harmfulness or brain damage consequent upon the passage of electric current needs to be examined afresh in light of technological advances and new knowledge.[3]The question whether ECT causes brain damage was reviewed in a holistic fashion by Devanand et al.

In the mid-1990s.[4],[5] The authors had attempted to answer this question by reviewing the effect of ECT on the brain in various areas – cognitive side effects, structural neuroimaging studies, neuropathologic studies of patients who had received ECT, autopsy studies of epileptic patients, and finally animal ECS studies. The authors had concluded that ECT does not produce brain damage.This narrative review aims to update the evidence with regard to whether ECT causes brain damage by reviewing relevant literature from 1994 to the present time. Framing the Question The Oxford Dictionary defines damage as physical harm that impairs the value, usefulness, or normal function of something.[6] Among medical dictionaries, the Peter Collins Dictionary defines damage as harm done to things (noun) or to harm something (verb).[7] Brain damage is defined by the British Medical Association Medical Dictionary as degeneration or death of nerve cells and tracts within the brain that may be localized to a particular area of the brain or diffuse.[8] Going by such a definition, brain damage in the context of ECT should refer to death or degeneration of brain tissue, which results in the impairment of functioning of the brain. The importance of precisely defining brain damage shall become evident subsequently in this review.There are now many more tools available to investigate the structure and function of brain in health and illness. However, there are obvious ethical issues in designing human studies that are designed to answer this specific question.

Therefore, one must necessarily take recourse to indirect evidences available through studies that have been designed to answer other research questions. These studies have employed the following methods:Structural neuroimaging studiesFunctional neuroimaging studiesMetabolic neuroimaging studiesBody fluid biochemical marker studiesCognitive impairment studies.While the early studies tended to focus more on establishing the safety of ECT and finding out whether ECT causes gross microscopic brain damage, the later studies especially since the advent of advanced neuroimaging techniques have been focusing more on a mechanistic understanding of ECT. Hence, the primary objective of the later neuroimaging studies has been to look for structural and functional brain changes which might explain how ECT acts rather than evidence of gross structural damage per se. However, put together, all these studies would enable us to answer our titular question to some satisfaction. [Table 1] and [Table 2] provide an overview of the evidence base in this area.

Structural and Functional Neuroimaging Studies Devanand et al. Reviewed 16 structural neuroimaging studies on the effect of ECT on the brain.[4] Of these, two were pneumoencephalography studies, nine were computed tomography (CT) scan studies, and five were magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies. However, most of these studies were retrospective in design, with neuroimaging being done in patients who had received ECT in the past. In the absence of baseline neuroimaging, it would be very difficult to attribute any structural brain changes to ECT. In addition, pneumoencephalography, CT scan, and even early 0.3 T MRI provided images with much lower spatial resolution than what is available today.

The authors concluded that there was no evidence to show that ECT caused any structural damage to the brain.[4] Since then, at least twenty more MRI-based structural neuroimaging studies have studied the effect of ECT on the brain. The earliest MRI studies in the early 1990s focused on detecting structural damage following ECT. All of these studies were prospective in design, with the first MRI scan done at baseline and a second MRI scan performed post ECT.[9],[11],[12],[13],[41] While most of the studies imaged the patient once around 24 h after receiving ECT, some studies performed multiple post ECT neuroimaging in the first 24 h after ECT to better capture the acute changes. A single study by Coffey et al. Followed up the patients for a duration of 6 months and repeated neuroimaging again at 6 months in order to capture any long-term changes following ECT.[10]The most important conclusion which emerged from this early series of studies was that there was no evidence of cortical atrophy, change in ventricle size, or increase in white matter hyperintensities.[4] The next major conclusion was that there appeared to be an increase in the T1 and T2 relaxation time immediately following ECT, which returned to normal within 24 h.

This supported the theory that immediately following ECT, there appears to be a temporary breakdown of the blood–brain barrier, leading to water influx into the brain tissue.[11] The last significant observation by Coffey et al. In 1991 was that there was no significant temporal changes in the total volumes of the frontal lobes, temporal lobes, or amygdala–hippocampal complex.[10] This was, however, something which would later be refuted by high-resolution MRI studies. Nonetheless, one inescapable conclusion of these early studies was that there was no evidence of any gross structural brain changes following administration of ECT. Much later in 2007, Szabo et al. Used diffusion-weighted MRI to image patients in the immediate post ECT period and failed to observe any obvious brain tissue changes following ECT.[17]The next major breakthrough came in 2010 when Nordanskog et al.

Demonstrated that there was a significant increase in the volume of the hippocampus bilaterally following a course of ECT in a cohort of patients with depressive illness.[18] This contradicted the earlier observations by Coffey et al. That there was no volume increase in any part of the brain following ECT.[10] This was quite an exciting finding and was followed by several similar studies. However, the perspective of these studies was quite different from the early studies. In contrast to the early studies looking for the evidence of ECT-related brain damage, the newer studies were focused more on elucidating the mechanism of action of ECT. Further on in 2014, Nordanskog et al.

In a follow-up study showed that though there was a significant increase in the volume of the hippocampus 1 week after a course of ECT, the hippocampal volume returned to the baseline after 6 months.[19] Two other studies in 2013 showed that in addition to the hippocampus, the amygdala also showed significant volume increase following ECT.[20],[21] A series of structural neuroimaging studies after that have expanded on these findings and as of now, gray matter volume increase following ECT has been demonstrated in the hippocampus, amygdala, anterior temporal pole, subgenual cortex,[21] right caudate nucleus, and the whole of the medial temporal lobe (MTL) consisting of the hippocampus, amygdala, insula, and the posterosuperior temporal cortex,[24] para hippocampi, right subgenual anterior cingulate gyrus, and right anterior cingulate gyrus,[25] left cerebellar area VIIa crus I,[29] putamen, caudate nucleus, and nucleus acumbens [31] and clusters of increased cortical thickness involving the temporal pole, middle and superior temporal cortex, insula, and inferior temporal cortex.[27] However, the most consistently reported and replicated finding has been the bilateral increase in the volume of the hippocampus and amygdala. In light of these findings, it has been tentatively suggested that ECT acts by inducing neuronal regeneration in the hippocampus – amygdala complex.[42],[43] However, there are certain inconsistencies to this hypothesis. Till date, only one study – Nordanskog et al., 2014 – has followed study patients for a long term – 6 months in their case. And significantly, the authors found out that after increasing immediately following ECT, the hippocampal volume returns back to baseline by 6 months.[19] This, however, was not associated with the relapse of depressive symptoms. Another area of significant confusion has been the correlation of hippocampal volume increase with improvement of depressive symptoms.

Though almost all studies demonstrate a significant increase in hippocampal volume following ECT, a majority of studies failed to demonstrate a correlation between symptom improvement and hippocampal volume increase.[19],[20],[22],[24],[28] However, a significant minority of volumetric studies have demonstrated correlation between increase in hippocampal and/or amygdala volume and improvement of symptoms.[21],[25],[30]Another set of studies have used diffusion tensor imaging, functional MRI (fMRI), anatomical connectome, and structural network analysis to study the effect of ECT on the brain. The first of these studies by Abbott et al. In 2014 demonstrated that on fMRI, the connectivity between right and left hippocampus was significantly reduced in patients with severe depression. It was also shown that the connectivity was normalized following ECT, and symptom improvement was correlated with an increase in connectivity.[22] In a first of its kind DTI study, Lyden et al. In 2014 demonstrated that fractional anisotropy which is a measure of white matter tract or fiber density is increased post ECT in patients with severe depression in the anterior cingulum, forceps minor, and the dorsal aspect of the left superior longitudinal fasciculus.

The authors suggested that ECT acts to normalize major depressive disorder-related abnormalities in the structural connectivity of the dorsal fronto-limbic pathways.[23] Another DTI study in 2015 constructed large-scale anatomical networks of the human brain – connectomes, based on white matter fiber tractography. The authors found significant reorganization in the anatomical connections involving the limbic structure, temporal lobe, and frontal lobe. It was also found that connection changes between amygdala and para hippocampus correlated with reduction in depressive symptoms.[26] In 2016, Wolf et al. Used a source-based morphometry approach to study the structural networks in patients with depression and schizophrenia and the effect of ECT on the same. It was found that the medial prefrontal cortex/anterior cingulate cortex (ACC/MPFC) network, MTL network, bilateral thalamus, and left cerebellar regions/precuneus exhibited significant difference between healthy controls and the patient population.

It was also demonstrated that administration of ECT leads to significant increase in the network strength of the ACC/MPFC network and the MTL network though the increase in network strength and symptom amelioration were not correlated.[32]Building on these studies, a recently published meta-analysis has attempted a quantitative synthesis of brain volume changes – focusing on hippocampal volume increase following ECT in patients with major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. The authors initially selected 32 original articles from which six articles met the criteria for quantitative synthesis. The results showed significant increase in the volume of the right and left hippocampus following ECT. For the rest of the brain regions, the heterogeneity in protocols and imaging techniques did not permit a quantitative analysis, and the authors have resorted to a narrative review similar to the present one with similar conclusions.[44] Focusing exclusively on hippocampal volume change in ECT, Oltedal et al. In 2018 conducted a mega-analysis of 281 patients with major depressive disorder treated with ECT enrolled at ten different global sites of the Global ECT-MRI Research Collaboration.[45] Similar to previous studies, there was a significant increase in hippocampal volume bilaterally with a dose–response relationship with the number of ECTs administered.

Furthermore, bilateral (B/L) ECT was associated with an equal increase in volume in both right and left hippocampus, whereas right unilateral ECT was associated with greater volume increase in the right hippocampus. Finally, contrary to expectation, clinical improvement was found to be negatively correlated with hippocampal volume.Thus, a review of the current evidence amply demonstrates that from looking for ECT-related brain damage – and finding none, we have now moved ahead to looking for a mechanistic understanding of the effect of ECT. In this regard, it has been found that ECT does induce structural changes in the brain – a fact which has been seized upon by some to claim that ECT causes brain damage.[46] Such statements should, however, be weighed against the definition of damage as understood by the scientific medical community and patient population. Neuroanatomical changes associated with effective ECT can be better described as ECT-induced brain neuroplasticity or ECT-induced brain neuromodulation rather than ECT-induced brain damage. Metabolic Neuroimaging Studies.

Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopic Imaging Magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (MRSI) uses a phase-encoding procedure to map the spatial distribution of magnetic resonance (MR) signals of different molecules. The crucial difference, however, is that while MRI maps the MR signals of water molecules, MRSI maps the MR signals generated by different metabolites – such as N-acetyl aspartate (NAA) and choline-containing compounds. However, the concentration of these metabolites is at least 10,000 times lower than water molecules and hence the signal strength generated would also be correspondingly lower. However, MRSI offers us the unique advantage of studying in vivo the change in the concentration of brain metabolites, which has been of great significance in fields such as psychiatry, neurology, and basic neuroscience research.[47]MRSI studies on ECT in patients with depression have focused largely on four metabolites in the human brain – NAA, choline-containing compounds (Cho) which include majorly cell membrane compounds such as glycerophosphocholine, phosphocholine and a miniscule contribution from acetylcholine, creatinine (Cr) and glutamine and glutamate together (Glx). NAA is located exclusively in the neurons, and is suggested to be a marker of neuronal viability and functionality.[48] Choline-containing compounds (Cho) mainly include the membrane compounds, and an increase in Cho would be suggestive of increased membrane turnover.

Cr serves as a marker of cellular energy metabolism, and its levels are usually expected to remain stable. The regions which have been most widely studied in MRSI studies include the bilateral hippocampus and amygdala, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), and ACC.Till date, five MRSI studies have measured NAA concentration in the hippocampus before and after ECT. Of these, three studies showed that there is no significant change in the NAA concentration in the hippocampus following ECT.[33],[38],[49] On the other hand, two recent studies have demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in NAA concentration in the hippocampus following ECT.[39],[40] The implications of these results are of significant interest to us in answering our titular question. A normal level of NAA following ECT could signify that there is no significant neuronal death or damage following ECT, while a reduction would signal the opposite. However, a direct comparison between these studies is complicated chiefly due to the different ECT protocols, which has been used in these studies.

It must, however, be acknowledged that the three older studies used 1.5 T MRI, whereas the two newer studies used a higher 3 T MRI which offers betters signal-to-noise ratio and hence lesser risk of errors in the measurement of metabolite concentrations. The authors of a study by Njau et al.[39] argue that a change in NAA levels might reflect reversible changes in neural metabolism rather than a permanent change in the number or density of neurons and also that reduced NAA might point to a change in the ratio of mature to immature neurons, which, in fact, might reflect enhanced adult neurogenesis. Thus, the authors warn that to conclude whether a reduction in NAA concentration is beneficial or harmful would take a simultaneous measurement of cognitive functioning, which was lacking in their study. In 2017, Cano et al. Also demonstrated a significant reduction in NAA/Cr ratio in the hippocampus post ECT.

More significantly, the authors also showed a significant increase in Glx levels in the hippocampus following ECT, which was also associated with an increase in hippocampal volume.[40] To explain these three findings, the authors proposed that ECT produces a neuroinflammatory response in the hippocampus – likely mediated by Glx, which has been known to cause inflammation at higher concentrations, thereby accounting for the increase in hippocampal volume with a reduction in NAA concentration. The cause for the volume increase remains unclear – with the authors speculating that it might be due to neuronal swelling or due to angiogenesis. However, the same study and multiple other past studies [21],[25],[30] have demonstrated that hippocampal volume increase was correlated with clinical improvement following ECT. Thus, we are led to the hypothesis that the same mechanism which drives clinical improvement with ECT is also responsible for the cognitive impairment following ECT. Whether this is a purely neuroinflammatory response or a neuroplastic response or a neuroinflammatory response leading to some form of neuroplasticity is a critical question, which remains to be answered.[40]Studies which have analyzed NAA concentration change in other brain areas have also produced conflicting results.

The ACC is another area which has been studied in some detail utilizing the MRSI technique. In 2003, Pfleiderer et al. Demonstrated that there was no significant change in the NAA and Cho levels in the ACC following ECT. This would seem to suggest that there was no neurogenesis or membrane turnover in the ACC post ECT.[36] However, this finding was contested by Merkl et al. In 2011, who demonstrated that NAA levels were significantly reduced in the left ACC in patients with depression and that these levels were significantly elevated following ECT.[37] This again is contested by Njau et al.

Who showed that NAA levels are significantly reduced following ECT in the left dorsal ACC.[39] A direct comparison of these three studies is complicated by the different ECT and imaging parameters used and hence, no firm conclusion can be made on this point at this stage. In addition to this, one study had demonstrated increased NAA levels in the amygdala following administration of ECT,[34] with a trend level increase in Cho levels, which again is suggestive of neurogenesis and/or neuroplasticity. A review of studies on the DLPFC reveals a similarly confusing picture with one study, each showing no change, reduction, and elevation of concentration of NAA following ECT.[35],[37],[39] Here, again, a direct comparison of the three studies is made difficult by the heterogeneous imaging and ECT protocols followed by them.A total of five studies have analyzed the concentration of choline-containing compounds (Cho) in patients undergoing ECT. Conceptually, an increase in Cho signals is indicative of increased membrane turnover, which is postulated to be associated with synaptogenesis, neurogenesis, and maturation of neurons.[31] Of these, two studies measured Cho concentration in the B/L hippocampus, with contrasting results. Ende et al.

In 2000 demonstrated a significant elevation in Cho levels in B/L hippocampus after ECT, while Jorgensen et al. In 2015 failed to replicate the same finding.[33],[38] Cho levels have also been studied in the amygdala, ACC, and the DLPFC. However, none of these studies showed a significant increase or decrease in Cho levels before and after ECT in the respective brain regions studied. In addition, no significant difference was seen in the pre-ECT Cho levels of patients compared to healthy controls.[34],[36],[37]In review, we must admit that MRSI studies are still at a preliminary stage with significant heterogeneity in ECT protocols, patient population, and regions of the brain studied. At this stage, it is difficult to draw any firm conclusions except to acknowledge the fact that the more recent studies – Njau et al., 2017, Cano, 2017, and Jorgensen et al., 2015 – have shown decrease in NAA concentration and no increase in Cho levels [38],[39],[40] – as opposed to the earlier studies by Ende et al.[33] The view offered by the more recent studies is one of a neuroinflammatory models of action of ECT, probably driving neuroplasticity in the hippocampus.

This would offer a mechanistic understanding of both clinical response and the phenomenon of cognitive impairment associated with ECT. However, this conclusion is based on conjecture, and more work needs to be done in this area. Body Fluid Biochemical Marker Studies Another line of evidence for analyzing the effect of ECT on the human brain is the study of concentration of neurotrophins in the plasma or serum. Neurotrophins are small protein molecules which mediate neuronal survival and development. The most prominent among these is brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which plays an important role in neuronal survival, plasticity, and migration.[50] A neurotrophic theory of mood disorders was suggested which hypothesized that depressive disorders are associated with a decreased expression of BDNF in the limbic structures, resulting in the atrophy of these structures.[51] It was also postulated that antidepressant treatment has a neurotrophic effect which reverses the neuronal cell loss, thereby producing a therapeutic effect.

It has been well established that BDNF is decreased in mood disorders.[52] It has also been shown that clinical improvement of depression is associated with increase in BDNF levels.[53] Thus, serum BDNF levels have been tentatively proposed as a biomarker for treatment response in depression. Recent meta-analytic evidence has shown that ECT is associated with significant increase in serum BDNF levels in patients with major depressive disorder.[54] Considering that BDNF is a potent stimulator of neurogenesis, the elevation of serum BDNF levels following ECT lends further credence to the theory that ECT leads to neurogenesis in the hippocampus and other limbic structures, which, in turn, mediates the therapeutic action of ECT. Cognitive Impairment Studies Cognitive impairment has always been the single-most important side effect associated with ECT.[55] Concerns regarding long-term cognitive impairment surfaced soon after the introduction of ECT and since then has grown to become one of the most controversial aspects of ECT.[56] Anti-ECT groups have frequently pointed out to cognitive impairment following ECT as evidence of ECT causing brain damage.[56] A meta-analysis by Semkovska and McLoughlin in 2010 is one of the most detailed studies which had attempted to settle this long-standing debate.[57] The authors reviewed 84 studies (2981 participants), which had used a combined total of 22 standardized neuropsychological tests assessing various cognitive functions before and after ECT in patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder. The different cognitive domains reviewed included processing speed, attention/working memory, verbal episodic memory, visual episodic memory, spatial problem-solving, executive functioning, and intellectual ability. The authors concluded that administration of ECT for depression is associated with significant cognitive impairment in the first few days after ECT administration.

However, it was also seen that impairment in cognitive functioning resolved within a span of 2 weeks and thereafter, a majority of cognitive domains even showed mild improvement compared to the baseline performance. It was also demonstrated that not a single cognitive domain showed persistence of impairment beyond 15 days after ECT.Memory impairment following ECT can be analyzed broadly under two conceptual schemes – one that classifies memory impairment as objective memory impairment and subjective memory impairment and the other that classifies it as impairment in anterograde memory versus impairment in retrograde memory. Objective memory can be roughly defined as the ability to retrieve stored information and can be measured by various standardized neuropsychological tests. Subjective memory or meta-memory, on the other hand, refers to the ability to make judgments about one's ability to retrieve stored information.[58] As described previously, it has been conclusively demonstrated that anterograde memory impairment does not persist beyond 2 weeks after ECT.[57] However, one of the major limitations of this meta-analysis was the lack of evidence on retrograde amnesia following ECT. This is particularly unfortunate considering that it is memory impairment – particularly retrograde amnesia which has received the most attention.[59] In addition, reports of catastrophic retrograde amnesia have been repeatedly held up as sensational evidence of the lasting brain damage produced by ECT.[59] Admittedly, studies on retrograde amnesia are fewer and less conclusive than on anterograde amnesia.[60],[61] At present, the results are conflicting, with some studies finding some impairment in retrograde memory – particularly autobiographical retrograde memory up to 6 months after ECT.[62],[63],[64],[65] However, more recent studies have failed to support this finding.[66],[67] While they do demonstrate an impairment in retrograde memory immediately after ECT, it was seen that this deficit returned to pre-ECT levels within a span of 1–2 months and improved beyond baseline performance at 6 months post ECT.[66] Adding to the confusion are numerous factors which confound the assessment of retrograde amnesia.

It has been shown that depressive symptoms can produce significant impairment of retrograde memory.[68],[69] It has also been demonstrated that sine-wave ECT produces significantly more impairment of retrograde memory as compared to brief-pulse ECT.[70] However, from the 1990s onward, sine-wave ECT has been completely replaced by brief-pulse ECT, and it is unclear as to the implications of cognitive impairment from the sine-wave era in contemporary ECT practice.Another area of concern are reports of subjective memory impairment following ECT. One of the pioneers of research into subjective memory impairment were Squire and Chace who published a series of studies in the 1970s demonstrating the adverse effect of bilateral ECT on subjective assessment of memory.[62],[63],[64],[65] However, most of the studies conducted post 1980 – from when sine-wave ECT was replaced by brief-pulse ECT report a general improvement in subjective memory assessments following ECT.[71] In addition, most of the recent studies have failed to find a significant association between measures of subjective and objective memory.[63],[66],[70],[72],[73],[74] It has also been shown that subjective memory impairment is strongly associated with the severity of depressive symptoms.[75] In light of these facts, the validity and value of measures of subjective memory impairment as a marker of cognitive impairment and brain damage following ECT have been questioned. However, concerns regarding subjective memory impairment and catastrophic retrograde amnesia continue to persist, with significant dissonance between the findings of different research groups and patient self-reports in various media.[57]Some studies reported the possibility of ECT being associated with the development of subsequent dementia.[76],[77] However, a recent large, well-controlled prospective Danish study found that the use of ECT was not associated with elevated incidence of dementia.[78] Conclusion Our titular question is whether ECT leads to brain damage, where damage indicates destruction or degeneration of nerves or nerve tracts in the brain, which leads to loss of function. This issue was last addressed by Devanand et al. In 1994 since which time our understanding of ECT has grown substantially, helped particularly by the advent of modern-day neuroimaging techniques which we have reviewed in detail.

And, what these studies reveal is rather than damaging the brain, ECT has a neuromodulatory effect on the brain. The various lines of evidence – structural neuroimaging studies, functional neuroimaging studies, neurochemical and metabolic studies, and serum BDNF studies all point toward this. These neuromodulatory changes have been localized to the hippocampus, amygdala, and certain other parts of the limbic system. How exactly these changes mediate the improvement of depressive symptoms is a question that remains unanswered. However, there is little by way of evidence from neuroimaging studies which indicates that ECT causes destruction or degeneration of neurons.

Though cognitive impairment studies do show that there is objective impairment of certain functions – particularly memory immediately after ECT, these impairments are transient with full recovery within a span of 2 weeks. Perhaps, the single-most important unaddressed concern is retrograde amnesia, which has been shown to persist for up to 2 months post ECT. In this regard, the recent neurometabolic studies have offered a tentative mechanism of action of ECT, producing a transient inflammation in the limbic cortex, which, in turn, drives neurogenesis, thereby exerting a neuromodulatory effect. This hypothesis would explain both the cognitive adverse effects of ECT – due to the transient inflammation – and the long-term improvement in mood – neurogenesis in the hippocampus. Although unproven at present, such a hypothesis would imply that cognitive impairment is tied in with the mechanism of action of ECT and not an indicator of damage to the brain produced by ECT.The review of literature suggests that ECT does cause at least structural and functional changes in the brain, and these are in all probability related to the effects of the ECT.

However, these cannot be construed as brain damage as is usually understood. Due to the relative scarcity of data that directly examines the question of whether ECT causes brain damage, it is not possible to conclusively answer this question. However, in light of enduring ECT survivor accounts, there is a need to design studies that specifically answer this question.Financial support and sponsorshipNil.Conflicts of interestThere are no conflicts of interest. References 1.Payne NA, Prudic J. Electroconvulsive therapy.

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72.Sackeim HA, Prudic J, Devanand DP, Kiersky JE, Fitzsimons L, Moody BJ, et al. Effects of stimulus intensity and electrode placement on the efficacy and cognitive effects of electroconvulsive therapy. N Engl J Med 1993;328:839-46. 73.Frith CD, Stevens M, Johnstone EC, Deakin JF, Lawler P, Crow TJ. Effects of ECT and depression on various aspects of memory.

Br J Psychiatry 1983;142:610-7. 74.Ng C, Schweitzer I, Alexopoulos P, Celi E, Wong L, Tuckwell V, et al. Efficacy and cognitive effects of right unilateral electroconvulsive therapy. J ECT 2000;16:370-9. 75.Coleman EA, Sackeim HA, Prudic J, Devanand DP, McElhiney MC, Moody BJ.

Subjective memory complaints prior to and following electroconvulsive therapy. Biol Psychiatry 1996;39:346-56. 76.Berggren Š, Gustafson L, Höglund P, Johanson A. A long-term longitudinal follow-up of depressed patients treated with ECT with special focus on development of dementia. J Affect Disord 2016;200:15-24.

77.Brodaty H, Hickie I, Mason C, Prenter L. A prospective follow-up study of ECT outcome in older depressed patients. J Affect Disord 2000;60:101-11. 78.Osler M, Rozing MP, Christensen GT, Andersen PK, Jørgensen MB. Electroconvulsive therapy and risk of dementia in patients with affective disorders.

A cohort study. Lancet Psychiatry 2018;5:348-56. Correspondence Address:Dr. Shubh Mohan SinghDepartment of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh IndiaSource of Support. None, Conflict of Interest.

NoneDOI. 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_239_19 Tables [Table 1], [Table 2].

How to amoxil price per pill cite this article:Singh O P http://sw.keimfarben.de/cheap-generic-amoxil/. Aftermath of celebrity suicide – Media coverage and role of psychiatrists. Indian J Psychiatry 2020;62:337-8Celebrity suicide is one of the highly amoxil price per pill publicized events in our country.

Indians got a glimpse of this following an unfortunate incident where a popular Hindi film actor died of suicide. As expected, the media went into a amoxil price per pill frenzy as newspapers, news channels, and social media were full of stories providing minute details of the suicidal act. Some even going as far as highlighting the color of the cloth used in the suicide as well as showing the lifeless body of the actor.

All kinds of personal details were dug up, and speculations and hypotheses became the order of the day in the next few days that followed. In the process, reputations of many people associated with the actor were besmirched and their private and personal details were freely and blatantly broadcast and amoxil price per pill discussed on electronic, print, and social media. We understand that media houses have their own need and duty to report and sensationalize news for increasing their visibility (aka TRP), but such reporting has huge impacts on the mental health of the vulnerable population.The impact of this was soon realized when many incidents of copycat suicide were reported from all over the country within a few days of the incident.

Psychiatrists suddenly started getting distress amoxil price per pill calls from their patients in despair with increased suicidal ideation. This has become a major area of concern for the psychiatry community.The Indian Psychiatric Society has been consistently trying to engage with media to promote ethical reporting of suicide. Section 24 (1) of Mental Health Care Act, 2017, forbids publication of photograph of mentally ill amoxil price per pill person without his consent.[1] The Press Council of India has adopted the guidelines of World Health Organization report on Preventing Suicide.

A resource for media professionals, which came out with an advisory to be followed by media in reporting cases of suicide. It includes points forbidding them from putting stories in prominent positions and unduly repeating them, explicitly describing the method used, providing details about the site/location, using sensational headlines, or using photographs and video footage of the incident.[2] Unfortunately, the advisory seems to have little effect in the aftermath of celebrity suicides. Channels were full of speculations about amoxil price per pill the person's mental condition and illness and also his relationships and finances.

Many fictional accounts of his symptoms and illness were touted, which is not only against the ethics but is also contrary to MHCA, 2017.[1]It went to the extent that the name of his psychiatrist was mentioned and quotes were attributed to him without taking any account from him. The Indian Psychiatric Society amoxil price per pill has written to the Press Council of India underlining this concern and asking for measures to ensure ethics in reporting suicide.While there is a need for engagement with media to make them aware of the grave impact of negative suicide reporting on the lives of many vulnerable persons, there is even a more urgent need for training of psychiatrists regarding the proper way of interaction with media. This has been amply brought out in the aftermath of this incident.

Many psychiatrists and mental health professionals were called by media houses amoxil price per pill to comment on the episode. Many psychiatrists were quoted, or “misquoted,” or “quoted out of context,” commenting on the life of a person whom they had never examined and had no “professional authority” to do so. There were even stories with byline of a psychiatrist where the content provided was not only unscientific but also way beyond the expertise of a psychiatrist.

These types of viewpoints perpetuate stigma, amoxil price per pill myths, and “misleading concepts” about psychiatry and are detrimental to the image of psychiatry in addition to doing harm and injustice to our patients. Hence, the need to formulate a guideline for interaction of psychiatrists with the media is imperative.In the infamous Goldwater episode, 12,356 psychiatrists were asked to cast opinion about the fitness of Barry Goldwater for presidential candidature. Out of 2417 respondents, 1189 psychiatrists reported him to be mentally unfit while none had actually examined him.[3] This led to the formulation of “The Goldwater Rule” by the American Psychiatric Association in 1973,[4] but amoxil price per pill we have witnessed the same phenomenon at the time of presidential candidature of Donald Trump.Psychiatrists should be encouraged to interact with media to provide scientific information about mental illnesses and reduction of stigma, but “statements to the media” can be a double-edged sword, and we should know about the rules of engagements and boundaries of interactions.

Methods and principles of interaction with media should form a part of our training curriculum. Many professional societies have guidelines and resource amoxil price per pill books for interacting with media, and psychiatrists should familiarize themselves with these documents. The Press Council guideline is likely to prompt reporters to seek psychiatrists for their expert opinion.

It is useful for them to have a template ready with suicide rates, emphasizing multicausality of suicide, role of mental disorders, as well as help available.[5]It is about time that the Indian Psychiatric Society formulated its own guidelines laying down the broad principles and boundaries governing the interaction of Indian psychiatrists with the media. Till then, it is desirable to be guided by the following broad principles:It should be assumed that no statement goes “off the record” as the media person is most likely recording the interview, and we should also record any such conversation from our endIt should be clarified in which capacity comments are being made – professional, personal, or as a representative of an organizationOne should not comment on any person whom he has not examinedPsychiatrists amoxil price per pill should take any such opportunity to educate the public about mental health issuesThe comments should be justified and limited by the boundaries of scientific knowledge available at the moment. References Correspondence Address:Dr.

O P SinghAA 304, amoxil price per pill Ashabari Apartments, O/31, Baishnabghata, Patuli Township, Kolkata - 700 094, West Bengal IndiaSource of Support. None, Conflict of Interest. NoneDOI.

10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_816_20Abstract Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is an effective modality of treatment for a variety of psychiatric disorders. However, it has always been accused of being a coercive, unethical, and dangerous modality of treatment. The dangerousness of ECT has been mainly attributed to its claimed ability to cause brain damage.

This narrative review aims to provide an update of the evidence with regard to whether the practice of ECT is associated with damage to the brain. An accepted definition of brain damage remains elusive. There are also ethical and technical problems in designing studies that look at this question specifically.

Thus, even though there are newer technological tools and innovations, any review attempting to answer this question would have to take recourse to indirect methods. These include structural, functional, and metabolic neuroimaging. Body fluid biochemical marker studies.

And follow-up studies of cognitive impairment and incidence of dementia in people who have received ECT among others. The review of literature and present evidence suggests that ECT has a demonstrable impact on the structure and function of the brain. However, there is a lack of evidence at present to suggest that ECT causes brain damage.Keywords.

Adverse effect, brain damage, electroconvulsive therapyHow to cite this article:Jolly AJ, Singh SM. Does electroconvulsive therapy cause brain damage. An update.

Indian J Psychiatry 2020;62:339-53 Introduction Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) as a modality of treatment for psychiatric disorders has existed at least since 1938.[1] ECT is an effective modality of treatment for various psychiatric disorders. However, from the very beginning, the practice of ECT has also faced resistance from various groups who claim that it is coercive and harmful.[2] While the ethical aspects of the practice of ECT have been dealt with elsewhere, the question of harmfulness or brain damage consequent upon the passage of electric current needs to be examined afresh in light of technological advances and new knowledge.[3]The question whether ECT causes brain damage was reviewed in a holistic fashion by Devanand et al. In the mid-1990s.[4],[5] The authors had attempted to answer this question by reviewing the effect of ECT on the brain in various areas – cognitive side effects, structural neuroimaging studies, neuropathologic studies of patients who had received ECT, autopsy studies of epileptic patients, and finally animal ECS studies.

The authors had concluded that ECT does not produce brain damage.This narrative review aims to update the evidence with regard to whether ECT causes brain damage by reviewing relevant literature from 1994 to the present time. Framing the Question The Oxford Dictionary defines damage as physical harm that impairs the value, usefulness, or normal function of something.[6] Among medical dictionaries, the Peter Collins Dictionary defines damage as harm done to things (noun) or to harm something (verb).[7] Brain damage is defined by the British Medical Association Medical Dictionary as degeneration or death of nerve cells and tracts within the brain that may be localized to a particular area of the brain or diffuse.[8] Going by such a definition, brain damage in the context of ECT should refer to death or degeneration of brain tissue, which results in the impairment of functioning of the brain. The importance of precisely defining brain damage shall become evident subsequently in this review.There are now many more tools available to investigate the structure and function of brain in health and illness.

However, there are obvious ethical issues in designing human studies that are designed to answer this specific question. Therefore, one must necessarily take recourse to indirect evidences available through studies that have been designed to answer other research questions. These studies have employed the following methods:Structural neuroimaging studiesFunctional neuroimaging studiesMetabolic neuroimaging studiesBody fluid biochemical marker studiesCognitive impairment studies.While the early studies tended to focus more on establishing the safety of ECT and finding out whether ECT causes gross microscopic brain damage, the later studies especially since the advent of advanced neuroimaging techniques have been focusing more on a mechanistic understanding of ECT.

Hence, the primary objective of the later neuroimaging studies has been to look for structural and functional brain changes which might explain how ECT acts rather than evidence of gross structural damage per se. However, put together, all these studies would enable us to answer our titular question to some satisfaction. [Table 1] and [Table 2] provide an overview of the evidence base in this area.

Structural and Functional Neuroimaging Studies Devanand et al. Reviewed 16 structural neuroimaging studies on the effect of ECT on the brain.[4] Of these, two were pneumoencephalography studies, nine were computed tomography (CT) scan studies, and five were magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies. However, most of these studies were retrospective in design, with neuroimaging being done in patients who had received ECT in the past.

In the absence of baseline neuroimaging, it would be very difficult to attribute any structural brain changes to ECT. In addition, pneumoencephalography, CT scan, and even early 0.3 T MRI provided images with much lower spatial resolution than what is available today. The authors concluded that there was no evidence to show that ECT caused any structural damage to the brain.[4] Since then, at least twenty more MRI-based structural neuroimaging studies have studied the effect of ECT on the brain.

The earliest MRI studies in the early 1990s focused on detecting structural damage following ECT. All of these studies were prospective in design, with the first MRI scan done at baseline and a second MRI scan performed post ECT.[9],[11],[12],[13],[41] While most of the studies imaged the patient once around 24 h after receiving ECT, some studies performed multiple post ECT neuroimaging in the first 24 h after ECT to better capture the acute changes. A single study by Coffey et al.

Followed up the patients for a duration of 6 months and repeated neuroimaging again at 6 months in order to capture any long-term changes following ECT.[10]The most important conclusion which emerged from this early series of studies was that there was no evidence of cortical atrophy, change in ventricle size, or increase in white matter hyperintensities.[4] The next major conclusion was that there appeared to be an increase in the T1 and T2 relaxation time immediately following ECT, which returned to normal within 24 h. This supported the theory that immediately following ECT, there appears to be a temporary breakdown of the blood–brain barrier, leading to water influx into the brain tissue.[11] The last significant observation by Coffey et al. In 1991 was that there was no significant temporal changes in the total volumes of the frontal lobes, temporal lobes, or amygdala–hippocampal complex.[10] This was, however, something which would later be refuted by high-resolution MRI studies.

Nonetheless, one inescapable conclusion of these early studies was that there was no evidence of any gross structural brain changes following administration of ECT. Much later in 2007, Szabo et al. Used diffusion-weighted MRI to image patients in the immediate post ECT period and failed to observe any obvious brain tissue changes following ECT.[17]The next major breakthrough came in 2010 when Nordanskog et al.

Demonstrated that there was a significant increase in the volume of the hippocampus bilaterally following a course of ECT in a cohort of patients with depressive illness.[18] This contradicted the earlier observations by Coffey et al. That there was no volume increase in any part of the brain following ECT.[10] This was quite an exciting finding and was followed by several similar studies. However, the perspective of these studies was quite different from the early studies.

In contrast to the early studies looking for the evidence of ECT-related brain damage, the newer studies were focused more on elucidating the mechanism of action of ECT. Further on in 2014, Nordanskog et al. In a follow-up study showed that though there was a significant increase in the volume of the hippocampus 1 week after a course of ECT, the hippocampal volume returned to the baseline after 6 months.[19] Two other studies in 2013 showed that in addition to the hippocampus, the amygdala also showed significant volume increase following ECT.[20],[21] A series of structural neuroimaging studies after that have expanded on these findings and as of now, gray matter volume increase following ECT has been demonstrated in the hippocampus, amygdala, anterior temporal pole, subgenual cortex,[21] right caudate nucleus, and the whole of the medial temporal lobe (MTL) consisting of the hippocampus, amygdala, insula, and the posterosuperior temporal cortex,[24] para hippocampi, right subgenual anterior cingulate gyrus, and right anterior cingulate gyrus,[25] left cerebellar area VIIa crus I,[29] putamen, caudate nucleus, and nucleus acumbens [31] and clusters of increased cortical thickness involving the temporal pole, middle and superior temporal cortex, insula, and inferior temporal cortex.[27] However, the most consistently reported and replicated finding has been the bilateral increase in the volume of the hippocampus and amygdala.

In light of these findings, it has been tentatively suggested that ECT acts by inducing neuronal regeneration in the hippocampus – amygdala complex.[42],[43] However, there are certain inconsistencies to this hypothesis. Till date, only one study – Nordanskog et al., 2014 – has followed study patients for a long term – 6 months in their case. And significantly, the authors found out that after increasing immediately following ECT, the hippocampal volume returns back to baseline by 6 months.[19] This, however, was not associated with the relapse of depressive symptoms.

Another area of significant confusion has been the correlation of hippocampal volume increase with improvement of depressive symptoms. Though almost all studies demonstrate a significant increase in hippocampal volume following ECT, a majority of studies failed to demonstrate a correlation between symptom improvement and hippocampal volume increase.[19],[20],[22],[24],[28] However, a significant minority of volumetric studies have demonstrated correlation between increase in hippocampal and/or amygdala volume and improvement of symptoms.[21],[25],[30]Another set of studies have used diffusion tensor imaging, functional MRI (fMRI), anatomical connectome, and structural network analysis to study the effect of ECT on the brain. The first of these studies by Abbott et al.

In 2014 demonstrated that on fMRI, the connectivity between right and left hippocampus was significantly reduced in patients with severe depression. It was also shown that the connectivity was normalized following ECT, and symptom improvement was correlated with an increase in connectivity.[22] In a first of its kind DTI study, Lyden et al. In 2014 demonstrated that fractional anisotropy which is a measure of white matter tract or fiber density is increased post ECT in patients with severe depression in the anterior cingulum, forceps minor, and the dorsal aspect of the left superior longitudinal fasciculus.

The authors suggested that ECT acts to normalize major depressive disorder-related abnormalities in the structural connectivity of the dorsal fronto-limbic pathways.[23] Another DTI study in 2015 constructed large-scale anatomical networks of the human brain – connectomes, based on white matter fiber tractography. The authors found significant reorganization in the anatomical connections involving the limbic structure, temporal lobe, and frontal lobe. It was also found that connection changes between amygdala and para hippocampus correlated with reduction in depressive symptoms.[26] In 2016, Wolf et al.

Used a source-based morphometry approach to study the structural networks in patients with depression and schizophrenia and the effect of ECT on the same. It was found that the medial prefrontal cortex/anterior cingulate cortex (ACC/MPFC) network, MTL network, bilateral thalamus, and left cerebellar regions/precuneus exhibited significant difference between healthy controls and the patient population. It was also demonstrated that administration of ECT leads to significant increase in the network strength of the ACC/MPFC network and the MTL network though the increase in network strength and symptom amelioration were not correlated.[32]Building on these studies, a recently published meta-analysis has attempted a quantitative synthesis of brain volume changes – focusing on hippocampal volume increase following ECT in patients with major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder.

The authors initially selected 32 original articles from which six articles met the criteria for quantitative synthesis. The results showed significant increase in the volume of the right and left hippocampus following ECT. For the rest of the brain regions, the heterogeneity in protocols and imaging techniques did not permit a quantitative analysis, and the authors have resorted to a narrative review similar to the present one with similar conclusions.[44] Focusing exclusively on hippocampal volume change in ECT, Oltedal et al.

In 2018 conducted a mega-analysis of 281 patients with major depressive disorder treated with ECT enrolled at ten different global sites of the Global ECT-MRI Research Collaboration.[45] Similar to previous studies, there was a significant increase in hippocampal volume bilaterally with a dose–response relationship with the number of ECTs administered. Furthermore, bilateral (B/L) ECT was associated with an equal increase in volume in both right and left hippocampus, whereas right unilateral ECT was associated with greater volume increase in the right hippocampus. Finally, contrary to expectation, clinical improvement was found to be negatively correlated with hippocampal volume.Thus, a review of the current evidence amply demonstrates that from looking for ECT-related brain damage – and finding none, we have now moved ahead to looking for a mechanistic understanding of the effect of ECT.

In this regard, it has been found that ECT does induce structural changes in the brain – a fact which has been seized upon by some to claim that ECT causes brain damage.[46] Such statements should, however, be weighed against the definition of damage as understood by the scientific medical community and patient population. Neuroanatomical changes associated with effective ECT can be better described as ECT-induced brain neuroplasticity or ECT-induced brain neuromodulation rather than ECT-induced brain damage. Metabolic Neuroimaging Studies.

Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopic Imaging Magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (MRSI) uses a phase-encoding procedure to map the spatial distribution of magnetic resonance (MR) signals of different molecules. The crucial difference, however, is that while MRI maps the MR signals of water molecules, MRSI maps the MR signals generated by different metabolites – such as N-acetyl aspartate (NAA) and choline-containing compounds. However, the concentration of these metabolites is at least 10,000 times lower than water molecules and hence the signal strength generated would also be correspondingly lower.

However, MRSI offers us the unique advantage of studying in vivo the change in the concentration of brain metabolites, which has been of great significance in fields such as psychiatry, neurology, and basic neuroscience research.[47]MRSI studies on ECT in patients with depression have focused largely on four metabolites in the human brain – NAA, choline-containing compounds (Cho) which include majorly cell membrane compounds such as glycerophosphocholine, phosphocholine and a miniscule contribution from acetylcholine, creatinine (Cr) and glutamine and glutamate together (Glx). NAA is located exclusively in the neurons, and is suggested to be a marker of neuronal viability and functionality.[48] Choline-containing compounds (Cho) mainly include the membrane compounds, and an increase in Cho would be suggestive of increased membrane turnover. Cr serves as a marker of cellular energy metabolism, and its levels are usually expected to remain stable.

The regions which have been most widely studied in MRSI studies include the bilateral hippocampus and amygdala, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), and ACC.Till date, five MRSI studies have measured NAA concentration in the hippocampus before and after ECT. Of these, three studies showed that there is no significant change in the NAA concentration in the hippocampus following ECT.[33],[38],[49] On the other hand, two recent studies have demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in NAA concentration in the hippocampus following ECT.[39],[40] The implications of these results are of significant interest to us in answering our titular question. A normal level of NAA following ECT could signify that there is no significant neuronal death or damage following ECT, while a reduction would signal the opposite.

However, a direct comparison between these studies is complicated chiefly due to the different ECT protocols, which has been used in these studies. It must, however, be acknowledged that the three older studies used 1.5 T MRI, whereas the two newer studies used a higher 3 T MRI which offers betters signal-to-noise ratio and hence lesser risk of errors in the measurement of metabolite concentrations. The authors of a study by Njau et al.[39] argue that a change in NAA levels might reflect reversible changes in neural metabolism rather than a permanent change in the number or density of neurons and also that reduced NAA might point to a change in the ratio of mature to immature neurons, which, in fact, might reflect enhanced adult neurogenesis.

Thus, the authors warn that to conclude whether a reduction in NAA concentration is beneficial or harmful would take a simultaneous measurement of cognitive functioning, which was lacking in their study. In 2017, Cano et al. Also demonstrated a significant reduction in NAA/Cr ratio in the hippocampus post ECT.

More significantly, the authors also showed a significant increase in Glx levels in the hippocampus following ECT, which was also associated with an increase in hippocampal volume.[40] To explain these three findings, the authors proposed that ECT produces a neuroinflammatory response in the hippocampus – likely mediated by Glx, which has been known to cause inflammation at higher concentrations, thereby accounting for the increase in hippocampal volume with a reduction in NAA concentration. The cause for the volume increase remains unclear – with the authors speculating that it might be due to neuronal swelling or due to angiogenesis. However, the same study and multiple other past studies [21],[25],[30] have demonstrated that hippocampal volume increase was correlated with clinical improvement following ECT.

Thus, we are led to the hypothesis that the same mechanism which drives clinical improvement with ECT is also responsible for the cognitive impairment following ECT. Whether this is a purely neuroinflammatory response or a neuroplastic response or a neuroinflammatory response leading to some form of neuroplasticity is a critical question, which remains to be answered.[40]Studies which have analyzed NAA concentration change in other brain areas have also produced conflicting results. The ACC is another area which has been studied in some detail utilizing the MRSI technique.

In 2003, Pfleiderer et al. Demonstrated that there was no significant change in the NAA and Cho levels in the ACC following ECT. This would seem to suggest that there was no neurogenesis or membrane turnover in the ACC post ECT.[36] However, this finding was contested by Merkl et al.

In 2011, who demonstrated that NAA levels were significantly reduced in the left ACC in patients with depression and that these levels were significantly elevated following ECT.[37] This again is contested by Njau et al. Who showed that NAA levels are significantly reduced following ECT in the left dorsal ACC.[39] A direct comparison of these three studies is complicated by the different ECT and imaging parameters used and hence, no firm conclusion can be made on this point at this stage. In addition to this, one study had demonstrated increased NAA levels in the amygdala following administration of ECT,[34] with a trend level increase in Cho levels, which again is suggestive of neurogenesis and/or neuroplasticity.

A review of studies on the DLPFC reveals a similarly confusing picture with one study, each showing no change, reduction, and elevation of concentration of NAA following ECT.[35],[37],[39] Here, again, a direct comparison of the three studies is made difficult by the heterogeneous imaging and ECT protocols followed by them.A total of five studies have analyzed the concentration of choline-containing compounds (Cho) in patients undergoing ECT. Conceptually, an increase in Cho signals is indicative of increased membrane turnover, which is postulated to be associated with synaptogenesis, neurogenesis, and maturation of neurons.[31] Of these, two studies measured Cho concentration in the B/L hippocampus, with contrasting results. Ende et al.

In 2000 demonstrated a significant elevation in Cho levels in B/L hippocampus after ECT, while Jorgensen et al. In 2015 failed to replicate the same finding.[33],[38] Cho levels have also been studied in the amygdala, ACC, and the DLPFC. However, none of these studies showed a significant increase or decrease in Cho levels before and after ECT in the respective brain regions studied.

In addition, no significant difference was seen in the pre-ECT Cho levels of patients compared to healthy controls.[34],[36],[37]In review, we must admit that MRSI studies are still at a preliminary stage with significant heterogeneity in ECT protocols, patient population, and regions of the brain studied. At this stage, it is difficult to draw any firm conclusions except to acknowledge the fact that the more recent studies – Njau et al., 2017, Cano, 2017, and Jorgensen et al., 2015 – have shown decrease in NAA concentration and no increase in Cho levels [38],[39],[40] – as opposed to the earlier studies by Ende et al.[33] The view offered by the more recent studies is one of a neuroinflammatory models of action of ECT, probably driving neuroplasticity in the hippocampus. This would offer a mechanistic understanding of both clinical response and the phenomenon of cognitive impairment associated with ECT.

However, this conclusion is based on conjecture, and more work needs to be done in this area. Body Fluid Biochemical Marker Studies Another line of evidence for analyzing the effect of ECT on the human brain is the study of concentration of neurotrophins in the plasma or serum. Neurotrophins are small protein molecules which mediate neuronal survival and development.

The most prominent among these is brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which plays an important role in neuronal survival, plasticity, and migration.[50] A neurotrophic theory of mood disorders was suggested which hypothesized that depressive disorders are associated with a decreased expression of BDNF in the limbic structures, resulting in the atrophy of these structures.[51] It was also postulated that antidepressant treatment has a neurotrophic effect which reverses the neuronal cell loss, thereby producing a therapeutic effect. It has been well established that BDNF is decreased in mood disorders.[52] It has also been shown that clinical improvement of depression is associated with increase in BDNF levels.[53] Thus, serum BDNF levels have been tentatively proposed as a biomarker for treatment response in depression. Recent meta-analytic evidence has shown that ECT is associated with significant increase in serum BDNF levels in patients with major depressive disorder.[54] Considering that BDNF is a potent stimulator of neurogenesis, the elevation of serum BDNF levels following ECT lends further credence to the theory that ECT leads to neurogenesis in the hippocampus and other limbic structures, which, in turn, mediates the therapeutic action of ECT.

Cognitive Impairment Studies Cognitive impairment has always been the single-most important side effect associated with ECT.[55] Concerns regarding long-term cognitive impairment surfaced soon after the introduction of ECT and since then has grown to become one of the most controversial aspects of ECT.[56] Anti-ECT groups have frequently pointed out to cognitive impairment following ECT as evidence of ECT causing brain damage.[56] A meta-analysis by Semkovska and McLoughlin in 2010 is one of the most detailed studies which had attempted to settle this long-standing debate.[57] The authors reviewed 84 studies (2981 participants), which had used a combined total of 22 standardized neuropsychological tests assessing various cognitive functions before and after ECT in patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder. The different cognitive domains reviewed included processing speed, attention/working memory, verbal episodic memory, visual episodic memory, spatial problem-solving, executive functioning, and intellectual ability. The authors concluded that administration of ECT for depression is associated with significant cognitive impairment in the first few days after ECT administration.

However, it was also seen that impairment in cognitive functioning resolved within a span of 2 weeks and thereafter, a majority of cognitive domains even showed mild improvement compared to the baseline performance. It was also demonstrated that not a single cognitive domain showed persistence of impairment beyond 15 days after ECT.Memory impairment following ECT can be analyzed broadly under two conceptual schemes – one that classifies memory impairment as objective memory impairment and subjective memory impairment and the other that classifies it as impairment in anterograde memory versus impairment in retrograde memory. Objective memory can be roughly defined as the ability to retrieve stored information and can be measured by various standardized neuropsychological tests.

Subjective memory or meta-memory, on the other hand, refers to the ability to make judgments about one's ability to retrieve stored information.[58] As described previously, it has been conclusively demonstrated that anterograde memory impairment does not persist beyond 2 weeks after ECT.[57] However, one of the major limitations of this meta-analysis was the lack of evidence on retrograde amnesia following ECT. This is particularly unfortunate considering that it is memory impairment – particularly retrograde amnesia which has received the most attention.[59] In addition, reports of catastrophic retrograde amnesia have been repeatedly held up as sensational evidence of the lasting brain damage produced by ECT.[59] Admittedly, studies on retrograde amnesia are fewer and less conclusive than on anterograde amnesia.[60],[61] At present, the results are conflicting, with some studies finding some impairment in retrograde memory – particularly autobiographical retrograde memory up to 6 months after ECT.[62],[63],[64],[65] However, more recent studies have failed to support this finding.[66],[67] While they do demonstrate an impairment in retrograde memory immediately after ECT, it was seen that this deficit returned to pre-ECT levels within a span of 1–2 months and improved beyond baseline performance at 6 months post ECT.[66] Adding to the confusion are numerous factors which confound the assessment of retrograde amnesia. It has been shown that depressive symptoms can produce significant impairment of retrograde memory.[68],[69] It has also been demonstrated that sine-wave ECT produces significantly more impairment of retrograde memory as compared to brief-pulse ECT.[70] However, from the 1990s onward, sine-wave ECT has been completely replaced by brief-pulse ECT, and it is unclear as to the implications of cognitive impairment from the sine-wave era in contemporary ECT practice.Another area of concern are reports of subjective memory impairment following ECT.

One of the pioneers of research into subjective memory impairment were Squire and Chace who published a series of studies in the 1970s demonstrating the adverse effect of bilateral ECT on subjective assessment of memory.[62],[63],[64],[65] However, most of the studies conducted post 1980 – from when sine-wave ECT was replaced by brief-pulse ECT report a general improvement in subjective memory assessments following ECT.[71] In addition, most of the recent studies have failed to find a significant association between measures of subjective and objective memory.[63],[66],[70],[72],[73],[74] It has also been shown that subjective memory impairment is strongly associated with the severity of depressive symptoms.[75] In light of these facts, the validity and value of measures of subjective memory impairment as a marker of cognitive impairment and brain damage following ECT have been questioned. However, concerns regarding subjective memory impairment and catastrophic retrograde amnesia continue to persist, with significant dissonance between the findings of different research groups and patient self-reports in various media.[57]Some studies reported the possibility of ECT being associated with the development of subsequent dementia.[76],[77] However, a recent large, well-controlled prospective Danish study found that the use of ECT was not associated with elevated incidence of dementia.[78] Conclusion Our titular question is whether ECT leads to brain damage, where damage indicates destruction or degeneration of nerves or nerve tracts in the brain, which leads to loss of function. This issue was last addressed by Devanand et al.

In 1994 since which time our understanding of ECT has grown substantially, helped particularly by the advent of modern-day neuroimaging techniques which we have reviewed in detail. And, what these studies reveal is rather than damaging the brain, ECT has a neuromodulatory effect on the brain. The various lines of evidence – structural neuroimaging studies, functional neuroimaging studies, neurochemical and metabolic studies, and serum BDNF studies all point toward this.

These neuromodulatory changes have been localized to the hippocampus, amygdala, and certain other parts of the limbic system. How exactly these changes mediate the improvement of depressive symptoms is a question that remains unanswered. However, there is little by way of evidence from neuroimaging studies which indicates that ECT causes destruction or degeneration of neurons.

Though cognitive impairment studies do show that there is objective impairment of certain functions – particularly memory immediately after ECT, these impairments are transient with full recovery within a span of 2 weeks. Perhaps, the single-most important unaddressed concern is retrograde amnesia, which has been shown to persist for up to 2 months post ECT. In this regard, the recent neurometabolic studies have offered a tentative mechanism of action of ECT, producing a transient inflammation in the limbic cortex, which, in turn, drives neurogenesis, thereby exerting a neuromodulatory effect.

This hypothesis would explain both the cognitive adverse effects of ECT – due to the transient inflammation – and the long-term improvement in mood – neurogenesis in the hippocampus. Although unproven at present, such a hypothesis would imply that cognitive impairment is tied in with the mechanism of action of ECT and not an indicator of damage to the brain produced by ECT.The review of literature suggests that ECT does cause at least structural and functional changes in the brain, and these are in all probability related to the effects of the ECT. However, these cannot be construed as brain damage as is usually understood.

Due to the relative scarcity of data that directly examines the question of whether ECT causes brain damage, it is not possible to conclusively answer this question. However, in light of enduring ECT survivor accounts, there is a need to design studies that specifically answer this question.Financial support and sponsorshipNil.Conflicts of interestThere are no conflicts of interest. References 1.Payne NA, Prudic J.

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Correspondence Address:Dr. Shubh Mohan SinghDepartment of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh IndiaSource of Support. None, Conflict of Interest.

NoneDOI. 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_239_19 Tables [Table 1], [Table 2].