New Brain Stimulation Technique Offers Treatment For Severe Depression

Dec, 2021 - By WMR

New Brain Stimulation Technique Offers Treatment For Severe Depression

A research demonstrated using brain stimulation individual brain activity can direct personalized treatment for severe depression.

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been used to relieve motor symptoms in patients affected with Parkinson’s. Now DBS has started showing real promise in treatment of other neurological conditions such as severe depression as well. With this technology particular areas in the brain are targeted with electric impulses. In the new study conducted by a team of scientists at Baylor College of Medicine demonstrated how based on individual brain activity, this approach of DBS can be customized for the treatment of severe depression that develops resistance to traditional therapy.

In this new study, the team focused on brain activity in the subcallosal cingulate (SCC), with another brain area known as the ventral capsule/ ventral striatum (VC/VS).  According to the scientists, SCC stimulation frequently reduces negative feeling and stimulating VC/VS normally boosts positive feelings. Hence, in this research, the team targeted both the region at the same time, which gave them more specific control over symptoms of depression. The team used this approach in the treatment of a patient who had treatment resistant depression. The subject had electrical leads implanted in the brain for providing stimulation and monitoring electrical activity.

Furthermore, the team monitored brain activity of the subject over various mood states, natural or induced. The scientist worked for months to tune and program the system in order to deliver perfect amount of stimulation. It also included accounting for a potential placebo effect with reduction in the amount of stimulation in the double-blind phase of the research, which deteriorated the symptoms of the subject. However, dialling the stimulation up again proved to be effective, and after four months of this treatment, the subject was in remission from the depression. Based on these promising results, the researchers now plan to recruit more participants in the study the customized treatment routines for treating depression.

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