Thursday, July 31, 2008

Deep-brain stimulation and depression

Deep-brain stimulation is a new treatment that can be used when antidepressants, psychotherapy and even electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) have failed to work. It uses high-frequency electric stimulation targeted at specific areas of the brain. A study of 20 patients by scientists at the University of Toronto and Emory University School of Medicine implanted two, thin wire electrodes (one on each side of the brain) into the white matter of the patients' brains near to the subcallosal cingulate region which has been implicated in depression. The researchers regulated the intensity of the current according to the response of the patient. 12 of the 20 patients experienced a significant decrease in depressive symptoms after six months, with 7 of them being fully recovered. The benefits were still there after a year and no long-term side effects were reported.

You can find out more about this research at

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