The idea that deep brain stimulation could become a useful treatment for a variety of drug resistant psychiatric disorders is not new to us or to our readers. To review, you can just take a look at many flashbacks at the end of this post. Now the news is that at the upcoming annual scientific meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), the data to be presented by Ali Rezai, M.D., a neurosurgeon at the Cleveland Clinic, will again point to usefulness of deep brain stimulation (DBS) for severe, treatment resistant depression and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
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The data represent the largest and longest clinical experience to date with DBS for psychiatric disorders and was collected through the collaborative research efforts of several leading institutions. All of the studies being presented used the Medtronic DBS system to stimulate a target within the brain called the ventral anterior limb of the internal capsule/ventral striatum (VC/VS), which is a central node in the neural circuits that regulate mood and anxiety.
“The data we are presenting on 43 patients is the result of more than 10 years of work across multiple institutions worldwide. These data represent the largest number and the longest evaluation of patients with psychiatric disorders who have undergone DBS implants, including some with long-term follow up,” said Dr. Rezai, who represented an international working group of physicians studying DBS therapy for treatment resistant OCD and depression. “While OCD and depression treatment with DBS require additional clinical evaluation research, our early open-label experience to date is encouraging and indicates that DBS may help severely disabled and suffering patients who have exhausted other treatment options.”