New Treatment May Help the
For those who do not respond to currently
existing depression therapies, such as medication, psychotherapy
or electroconvulsive therapy, depression can be a painful and
disabling disorder. A team of researchers out of Emory
University School of Medicine may have found an answer for these
treatment-resistant patients with a new therapy called deep
Deep brain stimulation is based upon the
observation that a region of the brain called Brodmann area 25
is metabolically overactive in treatment-resistant depression.
Researchers studied whether a chronic deep brain stimulation to
modulate this activity could help patients with
What the researchers found was that deep brain
stimulation was associated with a "striking and sustained"
remission of depression in four of the six patients they
The six study participants had been suffering
from depression anywhere between 1.5 to 10 years and were
considered to be treatment-resistant.
Among the effects patients reported were
sudden calmness, heightened awareness and increased interest.
They also exhibited increased motor speed and
higher rates of spontaneous speach.
After two months of treatment, five of the six patients
exhibited decreases in their depression scores of at least 50
percent. At the six month point, four continued to have an
The researchers concluded that, although the
study was limited in scope and length, deep brain stimulation
"may represent an effective, novel intervention for severely
disabled patients with treatment-resistant depression."
Deep Brain Stimulation for
Neuron, Volume 45, Issue 5, 3 March 2005, Pages 651-660
Helen S. Mayberg, Andres M. Lozano, Valerie Voon, Heather E.
McNeely, David Seminowicz, Clement Hamani, Jason M. Schwalb and
Sidney H. Kennedy.