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Persistence pays off: After 8‑year follow-up, study finds robust and sustained antidepressant response to deep brain stimulation (DBS)

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Long-Term Fol­low-Up Data Shows Deep Brain Stim­u­la­tion Is an Effec­tive Treat­ment for Treat­ment-Resis­tant Depres­sion (Mount Sinai press release):

A study pub­lished online on Fri­day, Octo­ber 4, in The Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Psy­chi­a­try found that deep brain stim­u­la­tion (DBS) of an area in the brain called the sub­cal­los­al cin­gu­late (SCC) pro­vides a robust anti­de­pres­sant effect that is sus­tained over a long peri­od of time in patients with treat­ment-resis­tant depres­sion Read the rest of this entry »

Ethical issues raised around deep brain stimulation (DBS) research

Researchers grap­ple with the ethics of test­ing brain implants (Sci­ence):

In 2003, neu­rol­o­gist Helen May­berg of Emory Uni­ver­si­ty in Atlanta began to test a bold, exper­i­men­tal treat­ment for peo­ple with severe depres­sion, which involved implant­i­ng met­al elec­trodes deep in the brain in a region called area 25. The ini­tial data were promis­ing; even­tu­al­ly, they con­vinced a device com­pa­ny, St. Jude Med­ical in Saint Paul, to spon­sor a 200-per­son clin­i­cal tri­al dubbed BROADEN.

This month, how­ev­er, Read the rest of this entry »

Closing the Circuit: Helen Mayberg’s research could revolutionize depression treatment

Blue, DepressionAt some point in their lives, 5 to 12 per­cent of Amer­i­can men and 10–25 per­cent of women will suf­fer an episode of depres­sion, mak­ing it the most com­mon­ly diag­nosed men­tal dis­or­der today. Unlike nor­mal sad­ness, which pass­es with time, depres­sion feels unstop­pable and caus­es peo­ple to lose inter­est in near­ly all activ­i­ties. Because it affects a per­son­’s abil­i­ty to eat, sleep, work, and func­tion nor­mal­ly, it exacts a huge cost on the econ­o­my, esti­mat­ed at $30 bil­lion dol­lars annu­al­ly. The cost in human suf­fer­ing can­not be mea­sured.

Mil­lions of peo­ple diag­nosed with depres­sion turn to med­ica­tion as a treat­ment, and many of the most pop­u­lar Read the rest of this entry »

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