Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Deep Brain Stimulation, A brain pacemaker implant for depression?

"Science Daily — A study at the University Clinics of Bonn and Cologne gives people with therapy-resistant depression reason for hope. The doctors treated two men and a woman with what is known as deep brain stimulation. All three patients have been suffering from very severe depression for several years which could neither be brought under control using medication nor by other therapies."
More specifically, they stimulated a particular brain area, the nucleus accumbens, or reward system of the brain.
"In the first few days of the DBS [deep brain stimulation] the symptoms of depression improved significantly in two of the three patients. Their condition remained constant for as long as they were undergoing treatment. However, as soon as the pulse generator was switched off, the depression recurred with full intensity."
Sounds like it works great as long as the brain is stimulated. Apparently, they have used 'brain pacemakers' in Parkinson's patients for years without problems. Who knows, someday this could be another treatment option. I wonder how it works going through airport security?

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