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
* Unwanted mood changes
* Movement disorders
Where do you stand on experimental treatments? Would you try something like this if it would reverse your depression?
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