Ever wondered just who makes those ‘shock treatment’ machines?
The hospital where I frequent uses the Thymatron, and they are made by Somatics, LLC. Somatics was started in 1983 by two professors of psychiatry who were also ECT experts.
I forget that ECT machines are merchandise that needs to be marketed and sold. This brochure makes me kind of laugh. The colors used for the text and the first photo vaguely reminds me of a Snuggie print ad.
The other machine, the spECTrum, is made by MECTA corp. Dr. Paul Blachley with MECTA ECT research in 1973 at Oregon Health Sciences University produced the first and only, monitored (EEG/ECG), brief pulse ECT devices – MECTA C and D. The third generation MECTA SR and JR digital devices were introduced in 1985 after more research was conducted at Columbia University. The current machines, MECTA spECTrum 5000®* and 4000™* devices, according to the web site, has “the first and only EEG Data Analysis** feature,38 and the spECTrum ULTRABRIEF© 0.3 ECT 49 which dramatically minimizes cognitive effects.”
Ectron is a British company that makes other devices besides ECT, like amplifiers and conditioners for aerospace equipment.
For more detailed info about these machines, both sites provide a lot of information. And this article from Advances in Psychiatric Treatment is a really great article that covers not only the history of ECT machines but details about each company’s machine and how they work. Though these are definitely the most utilized devices, as I mentioned previously, it wasn’t effective on me (i think they maxed out the voltage) and had to go to the rarely-used sine wave machine. I do not have a picture of that machine, but I just got permission to take pictures of it at the hospital. So, stay tuned. I’ll have pics sometime next month.