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Brain implants can help treat depression: study

December 2 , 2018

Photo: An x-ray image of someone who had electrodes implanted into their brain to manage their Parkinson’s disease\ Hellerhoff (Wikimedia Commons)

In recent years, doctors have explored an unorthodox method to treat depression. 

New research shows that deep brain stimulation can tackle treatment-resistant depression. Stimulating a brain area called the orbitofrontal cortex led to ‘significant’ improvement in the mood of people with moderate to severe depression.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, say they have found an ‘effective target’ in the brain for electrical stimulation to improve the mood of people suffering from depression.

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Their findings, published in the journal Current Biology, slow stimulation of a brain region called the lateral orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) reliably produced ‘acute’ improvements.

According to the study, a significant proportion of people who are living with major depression do not get any relief from existing treatments. In fact, up to 30% of those affected by depression have an intractable form of the condition.

But, deep brain stimulation (DBS) has emerged as a potential therapy that may succeed where other treatments have failed.


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