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Deep brain stimulation for severe depression

deep sad

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) therapy is meant for those people who are highly treatment resistant and suffering in a debilitating way from major depression. This multi-center study advanced the work of another study from 2005 which saw positive results in the approach. DBS targets an area of the brain known as Brodmann Area 25 and provides noticeable improvement in depression symptoms and can increase overall quality of life in patients who do not respond well to other therapies. The study enrolled 25 patients who had suffered from depression for twenty years, had tried as many as 16 depression medications and were considered physically disabled by their depression.

At the end of the first year, 62% of all patients in the study had a 40% reduction in symptoms and 29% of the people in the study experienced a 50% reduction in symptoms as measured against their baseline. “The reduction in depression scores is clinically significant as these patients had previously tried multiple medications, psychotherapy and/or electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) without success,” said Dr. Andres Lozano, neurosurgeon at Toronto Western Hospital, author of the paper and lead investigator. “To see 62% of the patients in the study respond at one year gives us hope that this research may lead to a therapy for this hard-to-treat patient population.”

Also encouraging was that eight of the study patients returned to daily life activity such as work, school and sustaining relationships with family and friends. Two patients are considered in remission. “These results add to the growing evidence suggesting that DBS therapy may help patients who currently don’t have an adequate treatment option in managing severe depression,” said Rohan Hoare, president of St. Jude medical Neuromodulation Division.

Source: Neuron, MedicalNewsToday

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