Deep Brain Stimulation in Treating Depression Through Modification of the Technology
Scientists in Australia are now working to modify the implants for a broader impact reaching beyond treating Parkinson's, obsessive compulsive disorder... to other illnesses such as treatment resistant depression. Deep Brain Stimulation in treating depression: The implants are easier to work with in treating mental illness since the parts of the brain that are involved with the mental disorders are quite fixed or stationary opposed to many of the seizure disorder where the neurons are more transitory. Vagal Nerve Stimulation was also first used to treat Epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease where we later discovered that those being treated noticed a marked improvement with their symptoms of depression in those who also had depression as another illness.
The electrical stimulation emitted can make neurons fire or cause them to be suppressed from firing. The theory is that you can shut down areas causing symptoms related to conditions such as OCD and major depression. If perfected Deep Brain Stimulation in Treating Depression might be the treatment of choice since some scientists claim to have put some people in indefinite remission and precluding the need for medications.
Professor Hugh McDermott, of the Bionics Institute in Melbourne Australia helped develop the cochlear implant and has been working on developing the technology for use in psychiatric disorders. Deep Brain Stimulation in Treating Depression hold great promise for the future. This is still experimental and should only be used when the patient has resistant to medication therapy.
Professor McDermott said, “Three patients had obsessive compulsive disorder OCD, one epilepsy and five severe depression.” “Some are more or less completely cured”. I would add that Deep Brain Stimulation in treating Depression “curing” someone should be taken cautiously and maybe interpreted as precluding the need for any medication and the absence of waning effects on the symptoms over time. Associate Professor Bittar says this technology is in its early days and more needs to be done to improve the implants, yet the results have been promising. Bitter said, "One lady, who was housebound, packed up her bags and went traveling after the surgery. She was over the moon. She still is."
Deep Brain Stimulation in Treating Depression - New Therapies Lasting Effects
Often traditional medication's effects can wane after long periods of use, Associate Professor Bittar has noticed the implants continue to benefit his depressed and OCD patients that had the implant placed four years ago.
"About half get a dramatic benefit and some are more or less completely cured," said Professor McDermott, who discussed his work at the International Conference on Medical Bionics held on Victoria's PhillipIsland.
"They go from institutional care to a relatively normal life where they can have a job and pretty much normal social interactions again. "It's a miraculous benefit for those people. But it doesn't do that for everybody at the moment."
Deep Brain Stimulation in Treating Depression - Technical Issues
Wires run from skull to power pack under the skin. Surgeons use a hole in the skull to insert the implants in a certain part of the brain, depending on the disorder they want to treat.
Some of the issues with this new technology are that some patients are unhappy about the rectangular power pack protruding under their skin, while the wires connected to the brain implant sometimes break as a result of normal head and neck movement during the day. It can also take time to work out the right amount of electrical stimulation needed, and there can be side effects including speech and balance problems.
Scientists including Professor McDermott are aiming to develop wireless versions of the implants similar to the cochlear ones. And instead of having a battery pack implanted in the chest, a rechargeable battery would sit behind the recipient's ear. Read the complete article: Deep Brain Stimulation in Treating Depression.
This article on Deep Brain Stimulation in Treating Depression is for informational purposes and not for the diagnosing or treating of any mental illness.