New Treatment For Depression: Brain Pacemakers?

February 23rd, 2011 - 12:03 am ICT by Angela Kaye Mason  

Feb 22 (THAINDIAN NEWS) A report from the Associated Press reveals that a new device may be used to help combat the symptoms of depression in chronic patients. Called “brain pacemakers,” scientists are hoping that these tiny devices can help to fight off the psychiatric illness which ruins so many lives. Problem is, the scientists are not sure just what area of the brain should house the new technology.

Deep Brain Stimulation, or DBS for short, has been proven to be a very successful method for stopping the shakiness of Parkinson’s disease. Stopping depression won’t be so simple, but these researchers are pushing for the studies to be expanded to include using the stimulators to fight against severe depression, Tourette’s syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder, and other psychiatric issues.

But Dr Michael Okun, from the University of Florida, warns, “It’s not a light switch.” Unlike the patients with Parkinson’s disease, those with depression and other such conditions will improve very slowly, which can sometimes lead to them becoming frustrated and giving up on the treatment. And once the treatment does begin to work, they will need therapy to learn to function with the depression gone.

As Dr Helen Mayberg of Emory University explains, “Once your brain is returned to you, now you have to learn to use it.”

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