The Reliability of ECT Machines
This exchange occurred during the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Neurological Devices Panel examining the reclassification of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) devices on January 27, 2011. These are the remarks as published in the public record of the meeting.
MS. CARRAS: I have a question for Dr. Weiner. Dr. Weiner, I did a lot of outside reading to prepare for this appointment, and I was wondering if you could answer Linda Andre’s assertion that you have worked for companies that make electroconvulsive shock machines.
DR. WEINER: Yeah, I’d be glad to answer that. Earlier in my career, I did a small amount of consulting with the device companies. As I said, I was trained in electrical engineering and systems engineering. So I was familiar with more than most psychiatrists are with the electrical properties and gave them advice. It was never more than a miniscule part of any income I had.
DR. BROTT: When was the latest date of that activity?
DR. WEINER: The latest date of that activity, I don’t recall, but I don’t believe any of it was within the past 10 years, but let me add that some of the research that I did in conjunction with a colleague, Dr. Krystal, resulted in a patent by Duke University which is licensed to one of the companies, MECTA, and to avoid conflict of interest, I do not personally receive royalties from that.
DR. BROTT: While you’re up there, do you practice, do you administer ECT?
DR. WEINER: Yes, I do. Yes, I do.
DR. BROTT: And, you know, I noticed you mentioned you have this engineering background. What machine or what device or devices do you use?