Technology can offer a remedy to treatment-resistant depression, where antidepressants dont work effectively, a report shows.
Patients were treated with implanted electrodes in the mind referred to as deep brain stimulation or DBS and saw significant brain changes over per year.
Patients mixed up in study also reported that their depression had eased, the researchers said.
DBS has already been widely used to take care of conditions such as for example Parkinson’s.
That means it is a solid potential therapy for treatment-resistant depression, the UTHealth Houston researchers believe.
Christopher Conner, a former neurosurgery resident at UTHealth Houston, said: “That is something that folks have been attempting to do for a long period, but we’ve not necessarily been very successful with using DBS for psychiatric illnesses.
“But this PET study demonstrates we’re altering the way the brain is functioning long-term and we have been beginning to change just how brain starts to organise itself and starts to process information and data.”
For a long time, DBS has been studied just as one treatment for patients with treatment-resistant depression.
In DBS, electrodes are implanted into certain brain areas, where they generate electrical impulses to affect brain activity.
However, finding what area of the brain must be geared to treat depression long-term has been challenging.
Conner said: “We targeted a lot of money of fibres that leave this small area in the brainstem to go to other areas through the entire brain.
“YOUR PET scans indicated that small target area has very diffuse downstream effects. It isn’t a unitary effect because there’s not just one single section of the brain associated with depression. The complete brain must be changed and through that one small target, that’s what we could actually do.”
Researchers performed a short PET scan prior to the DBS procedure on the 10 patients in the analysis for set up a baseline image. They performed additional PET scans at six and 12 months to assess changes after treatment.
Scans of eight of the 10 patients showed a reply.
Co-author Professor Joao de Quevedo, of McGovern Medical School in Houston, said: “A responder to the procedure implies that your depression potentially decreases at the very least 50%, you feel far better.
“So, for patients with severe chronic treatment-resistant depression, decreasing our symptoms by half will be a lot. It is the difference between being disabled to having the ability to take action.
Correlating with your pet image changes, our patients reported that their depression lessened following the treatment.”
Watch: Assessing your son or daughter’s mental health prior to going back again to school