Brain 'Pacemaker' For Depression Sufferers

For the first time, deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been shown to treat people suffering from major depression. DBS has been used to successfully treat epilepsy and Parkinson's. About twenty percent of depression sufferers fail to respond to standard treatment; medication plus electroconvulsive therapy may work for some of them. Dr. Andres Lozano, professor of neurosurgery at the University of Toronto, explains why DBS is a more refined choice.

"Electroconvulsive therapy is analogous to rebooting your computer," he explained. "This [deep brain stimulation] is very pinpointed, precise therapy, involving a very precise area of brain that plays a key role in depression."

When people are acutely sad, the subgenual cingulate region, or Cg25 region, of the brain, becomes active. Antidepressants can reduce activity in this area somewhat.

"It was as if the thermostat was set for 120 degrees and you want it to be 70 degrees," Lozano explained. "This area of the brain is running in overdrive, and it is causing depression and also interfering with the function of areas of the brain that are involved in cognitive function."


(From Scientists stimulate sadness center)

Since this study only involves six patients, it can offer only the most preliminary results. But after a hear and a half, a "striking benefit" has been seen in 4 of the 6 patients in the study.

Science fiction readers may recall the wireheads of Larry Niven's stories; a wirehead is a person who installs a droud to deliver a minute electrical current to the pleasure center of the brain. Niven creates a realistic picture of the social consequences of this technology in Ringworld.

Read more at Brain Pacemaker may help worse cases of depression; thanks to Jeff Schwenneker for providing the tip on this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/3/2005)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 9 )

Related News Stories - (" Medical ")

You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers.' - Frank Herbert, 1972.

First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.

Nanorobots Roam Your Bloodstream, Cleaning It
Too bad they won't have lasers, though...

MIT Ampli Blocks Build Biomedical Devices
Damn it Spock, I'm a doctor not an engineer!

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

PAL-V Liberty Flying Helicopter Car
'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters."

Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.'

DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.'

Ancient Russian Walking Excavator Would Be Perfect RV
I don't need it to go fast, it just needs to amble along.

ELROI Satellite 'License Plate'
Robert Heinlein was thinking about this in 1941.

When Robots Beg For Their Lives
"Just what do you think you're doing... Dave.'

Do You Still Want A Folding Screen Phone?
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled...'

'Snapchat Dysmorphia' Now A Thing, Say Plastic Surgeons
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'

Quiet Electric Cars Law Finalized By US Transportation Department
'... a sound tape to supply the noise'

Drone Assassin Fails To Kill Venezuelan President
'The spotter descends, and we think it searches the vicinity, looking for the victim's face...'

Stick-On Tape Speakers, As Predicted By Bruce Sterling
Flexible tape speakers, someday.

Bezos Invites You To New Life In Off-World Colonies
'A new life awaits you!'

Amazon's Rekognition System Sees Criminals In Congress
'... the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell.'

Build Your Own Space Suit For Cheap
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'

CIMON Space Sidekick For Weary Astronauts
I welcome our floating robotic assistants.

SRI MicroFactory Of Microrobots Recalls Dick's Autofac
'Microscopic machinery, smaller than ants... constructing something...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.