Depression can be Treated by Deep Brain Stimulation

by Anne Trueman on May 20, 2013 at 12:43 PM

Depression can be Treated by Deep Brain Stimulation
Deep Brain Stimulation may be used to treat depression, reveal new studies. Deep Brain Stimulation is a technique in which a pacemaker-like device is used to activate specific areas through implanted electrodes. This is very useful in mitigating the neurological pathos of patients.

Scientists have discovered the effectiveness of Deep Brain Stimulation in curing Alzheimer's, memory disorders and anorexia.

Recently researchers from the Bonn University of Germany have discovered some amazing effects of Deep Brain Stimulation in acute depression. Prof Volker Arnd Coenen and Prof. Thomas E. Schläpfer published their study in the Journal Biological Psychiatry.

Various studies have been conducted in the past for assessing the role of Deep Brain Stimulation on depression. Earlier the area of study focus was nucleus accumbens but now 'a bundle of nerve fibers running from the limbic system to the prefrontal cortex was selected - a region known as the medial forebrain bundle'.

The scientists said that both these regions of the brain are concerned with the feelings of euphoria and ecstasy.

The experts said that the therapy is effective when a relatively weak electric current was used.

The scientists from Bonn University have noticed that six out of seven seriously-depressed test subjects revealed a marked lowering in depression symptoms such as anxiety, listlessness, despondence and joylessness within few days of the onset of treatment. After the treatment, experts monitored the volunteers for 18 months.

In past studies, a high current was used for the treatment and the results appeared in few weeks and the treatment was beneficial for only 50 percent of patients. The scientists at UCLA believed that the success rate of the treatment using Stimulation of external Trigeminal Nerve on the foreheads of the depressed volunteers was more effective.

Dr. Rothschild said, "Treatment-resistant depression is a horrible disease. It can result in death, and people who live with it often have very difficult lives." He added, "These impressive findings in the medial forebrain bundle must now be replicated in a double-blind fashion, like the study we're doing with Brodmann Area 25 - that's the way to prove it."

Dr. Rothschild, the Irving S. and Betty Brudnick Endowed Chair and professor of psychiatry mentioned, "Every patient knew they were receiving the treatment, which increases the likelihood of a placebo effect. Studies like these are important first steps but, until you do the double-blind study in which some patients have the device turned on, and some do not, and the patients don't know which group they are in, you can come to inaccurate conclusions."

The scientists concluded that further studies are needed to ascertain the effectiveness of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) in treating depression.

Source: Medindia

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