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A cure for depression?

By July 25, 2008 - 10:14am
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An experimental treatment for depression is reportedly giving hope to patients who suffer from its most severe form. Deep brain stimulation (or DBS) in which the brain is stimulated with electrical impulses in an attempt to change mood. In this week's Biological Psychiatry, a Toronto-based scientist reported that he noticed a significant reduction in depression in 60 percent of patients who had not responded to more conventional treatments. The procedure has been used on 40,000 people worldwide including Parkinson's patients.

Here's how the surgery works: For the brain surgery portion, the patient receives a local anesthetic to numb the area being operated on. The patient remains awake and alert so the surgeon can talk with the patient to make sure the proper areas of the brain are stimulated. The patient's head is then placed in a special frame to keep it still during surgery. Two holes are drilled into the patient's skull, and guided by imaging techniques, the surgeon implants electrodes on both sides of your brain.

While this particular scientist noted success, there are side effects to this risky treatment including:

* Bleeding in the brain
* Infection
* Delirium
* Unwanted mood changes
* Movement disorders
* Lightheadedness
* Insomnia

Where do you stand on experimental treatments? Would you try something like this if it would reverse your depression?

Add a Comment1 Comments

I think if my depression was so bad that it inhibited any real quality of life, I might try anything.

All medical treatments were 'experimental' when they began so that part wouldn't scare me. The potential side effects are scary but so are the ones listed on the back of cold medicine bottles and over-the-counter pain relievers.

The truth is that depression is a terminal illness for some (suicide) so I would be open to it.

July 25, 2008 - 1:35pm
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