Deep brain stimulation for depression

dbs_diagram.jpgThere’s a piece in The Guardian discussing recent investigations into treating severe depression using deep brain stimulation – a technique that uses a permanently implanted electrode to stimulate a specific brain area.

This technique has been used to successfully treat some of the movement symptoms in Parkinson’s disease and is now being researched to see if it can be applied more widely.

Preliminary research by neuroscientists in Canada and the Netherlands has already suggested that the treatment could prove effective. Last year, Helen Mayberg, a neurologist at Emory University’s school of medicine in Atlanta, published the results of a decade of research which pinpointed a 2.5cm-wide part of the brain called the subgenual cingulate region (SCR) as playing a major role in dealing with affective information. The SCR is the lowest part of a deep band of tissue running along the central part of the brain. Dr Mayberg had noticed that this region was overactive in depressed people and that its activity correlated with their changing symptoms. When they were treated with antidepressant drugs, the activity went down.

Link to article from The Guardian
Link to Wikipedia article on DBS.
Link to previous post on Mind Hacks on ‘Modern-day psychosurgery’.

One Comment

  1. The Neurocritic
    Posted April 3, 2006 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    There’s another article on DBS for depression in the New York Times magazine. It has an unfortunate title (“A Depression Switch?”)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/02/magazine/02depression.html


Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *
*
*

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 23,227 other followers