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March 29, 2019

Treating depression with brain implants

Implanting electrodes in the brain for deep-brain stimulation offers a possible course of treatment for patients with treatment-resistant depression.

By GlobalData Healthcare

One of the most common psychiatric disorders is major depression and it is a leading cause of disability among North American adults under the age of 50.

About 20% of patients with depression do not respond to current treatment options (medications, psychotherapy or electroconvulsive therapy) and have what is termed treatment-resistant depression.

Deep-brain stimulation for depression

Implanting electrodes in the brain for deep-brain stimulation offers a possible course of treatment for these patients.

Deep brain stimulation has been approved for a number of conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. A recent study showed that brain-stimulating electrodes implanted in the lateral orbitofrontal cortex, a key hub for mood-related circuitry in the brain, can quickly improve the moods of people suffering from depression.

This stimulation induced neural features associated with positive mood states and did not cause hypomania. Another study has shown that the application of chronic deep brain stimulation to modulate the brain region BA25 alleviated treatment-resistant depression.

The market for brain implants

It has also been shown that stimulation of the subcallosal cingulate and medial forebrain bundle can further aid in the treatment of depression.

One of the more important features of deep-brain stimulation is that it shows sustained efficacy and relief within days, compared to other treatments that can take far longer.

GlobalData predicts that the market for these devices will grow in the next few years as a result of new discoveries and research in this field.

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