Reuters, among others, is reporting on a study from today’s Neuron which demonstrates a deep brain electrical stimulator which improved depression in 4 of 6 patients:

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Four of six severely depressed patients who underwent deep brain stimulation, which involves surgically implanting electrodes in a targeted area of the brain thought to be involved in depression, experienced a “striking and sustained” let-up in their depression, investigators report in the medical journal Neuron.

The six patients had been suffering with depression for between 1.5 to 10 years, despite treatment with antidepressant medications, psychotherapy and electroconvulsive therapy, according to the team.

When the electrodes were “turned on” patients reported effects such as sudden calmness, heightened awareness and increased interest. They also exhibited increased motor speed and higher rates of spontaneous speech.

After 2 months of continuous electrical stimulation, five of the six patients exhibited decreases in their Hamilton Depression scores of at least 50 percent. At 6 months, four continued to have an antidepressant response.

Other improvements included increased energy, interest, and psychomotor speed, decreased apathy and improved ability to initiate and complete tasks.

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