David with EEG Volunteer
Memories of Runwell by Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson
In 1976, after being badly injured while covering the fighting in Northern Ireland,
I decided to leave photojournalism and return to University to read psychology.
During my final year of the BSc(Hons) degree in 1980, my senior psychology lecturer, Dr Eric Warren, who was working part-time as a clinical psychologist at Runwell Hospital, suggested that for my thesis I undertook a study into the effects of ECT on memory. He kindly arranged for me to conduct the research on the wards and, as a result I spent a very happy time working at the hospital where the staff wonderfully helpful and generous of their time. I do remember feelings of slight guilt at having to persuade already deeply depressed patients to attempt my memory tests prior to their first session of ECT. These tests tended either to be fairly depressing – one story-based test was about people drowning - or utterly bizarre.
Another was the Babcock sentence which goes: 'One thing a nation must have to be rich and great is a large, secure, supply of wood."
Those with a normally functioning memory can learn it after just a few repetitions while those whose memory is impaired by depression
require up to a dozen repetitions and may never recall it perfectly.
"Are you sure this will help me dear?" I remember one lady asking plaintively when I was testing her.
It was a good question and one to which, of course, I could only answer in the negative.