Precision Deep Brain Stimulation Shows Initial Promise For Severe Depression
Posted on by Dr. Francis Collins
Caption: Implanted deep brain stimulation with one lead in the amygdala, and the other lead in the ventral capsule/ventral striatum. Credit: Ken Probst, University of California, San Francisco
For many people struggling with depression, antidepressants and talk therapy can help to provide relief. But for some, the treatments dont help nearly enough. Im happy to share some early groundbreaking research in alleviating treatment-resistant depression in a whole new way: implanting a pacemaker-like device capable of delivering therapeutic electrical impulses deep into the brain, aiming for the spot where they can reset the depression circuit.
Whats so groundbreaking about the latest approachso far, performed in just one patientis that the electrodes didnt simply deliver constant electrical stimulation. The system could recognize the specific pattern of brain activity associated with the patients depressive symptoms and deliver electrical impulses to the brain circuit where it could provide the most relief.
While much more study is needed, this precision approach to deep brain stimulation therapy offered immediate improvement to the patient, a 36-year-old woman whod suffered from treatment-resistant major depressive disorder since childhood. Her improvement has lasted now for more than a year.
What Parts Of The Brain Will Be Treated And Why
Different parts of the brain play a role in different disorders. In each trial, researchers will target circuits of the brain that may help regulate or control symptoms. The latest in brain imaging technology will help precisely locate the key regions as leading-edge, direct-to-brain therapies are being investigated.
Selection Criteria And Methods
One reviewer screened citations and selected studies. In the first level of screening, titles and abstracts were reviewed and potentially relevant articles were retrieved and assessed for inclusion. The final selection of full-text articles was based on the inclusion criteria presented in .
You May Like: Does Depression Have A Cause
Is Deep Brain Stimulation For Opioid Addiction Safe
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has approved this treatment for certain health conditions , essentially establishing its safety under limited circumstances.
So far, U.S. studies have not recorded major adverse events, or major negative side effects in the limited number of people who have received this treatment for drug addiction.
However, at this time, its safety for treating opioid addiction is yet to be fully established.
Summary Of Study Characteristics
Additional details regarding the strengths and limitations of included publications are provided in .
The included guideline met the majority of required criteria of the AGREE II tool. Strengths of the guidelines are the overall objectives and populations to whom the guidelines apply are specifically described guideline development groups included individuals from all relevant professional groups the target users of the guidelines are clearly defined systematic methods were used to search for evidence the criteria for selecting the evidence, the strengths and limitations of the body of evidence, and the methods for formulating the recommendations are clearly described the health benefits, side effects, and risks have been considered in formulating the recommendations there is an explicit link between the recommendations and the supporting evidence the guideline was externally reviewed by experts prior to its publication a procedure for updating the guideline is provided the recommendations are specific and unambiguous and the different options for management of the condition or health issue are clearly presented. These features may increase the reliability of the recommendations as they demonstrate sound methodology and make these publications less prone to biases.
Read Also: How To Help A Depressed Friend Over Text
Using Deep Brain Stimulation As A Therapy For Treatment
With this understanding of the functioning of the sgACC and VC/VS in the brains of people with treatment-resistant depression, researchers are looking to place the electrodes in these two areas. With custom stimulation traveling to the sgACC and VC/VS, they hope to increase responsiveness to external stimuli as well as maintain a steady state of excitement.
The proposed studies will investigate the feasibility and safety of using a next-generation DBS system, the Boston Scientific Vercise DBS system, to steer stimulation simultaneously to two different brain regions implicated in treatment-resistant depression that may lead to new and better treatments for this and other severe neuropsychiatric disorders, said Baylor St. Lukes Medical Center neurosurgeon Dr. Sameer Sheth, associate professor of neurosurgery at Baylor College of Medicine and one of the principal investigators of the deep brain stimulation for depression clinical trial.
If youre interested in learning more about deep brain stimulation and other innovative therapies for a variety of neurological conditions, schedule an appointment with a St. Lukes Health neurologist to begin your healthcare journey with Houstons leaders in neuroscience.
Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery For Treatment
Emory UniversityMount SinaiBioelectronic Medicine 2019-2029U.S. Food and Drug Administrationfrequency“What we found was that within minutes of stimulation inside the operating room, there was a change in the beta brain rhythm. Patients who showed larger changes then experienced greater relief from their depression in the week after surgery,”“The beta rhythm is conventionally associated with the brain’s determination of whether to stop or keep going with a course of action, which is why neurologists target beta with DBS to treat disorders of movement. We haven’t had a clear signal to target with DBS for depression, but now we can speculate as to how the beta signal might function in this context: a release of the brake that generates fatigue and slowness, or interrupting a habitual cycle of negative self-focused thought.”“We were able to leverage machine learning and explainable artificial intelligence approaches to explore unknown changes in brain state that would explain the obvious behavioral changes previously observed,”Georgia Institute of Technology“We generally think of depression treatment as taking weeks to months to show stable and meaningful changes in core clinical features of the illness,”“This research provides individuals who have struggled with depression a sense of hope through advancements in existing technology,”
Recommended Reading: Mild Depression Vs Severe Depression
What Is The Purpose Of This Surgery
DBS is a well-established procedure for patients suffering from movement diseases such as tremors, dystonia, Parkinsons disease, as well as mental illnesses like obsessive-compulsive disorder. Studies have found that usage to lessen seizures in patients with hard-to-cure epilepsy.
This therapy is just for patients whose symptoms are unmanageable by drugs.
Next Get Ready For Surgery
Youll almost certainly require medical testing before surgery to ensure that DBS is a safe and healthy option for you. Before the operation, you may also require brain imaging examinations, such as an MRI. These examinations aid in mapping the regions of your brain to identify where the electrodes need to be placed.
Contact United We Care at the earliest and get yourself prepared for one of the best mental health professionals and their insightful guidance.
Read Also: Is Zoning Out A Symptom Of Depression
Deep Brain Stimulation For Depression Side Effects
As implanting a deep brain stimulation device involves two surgeries including one in the brain deep brain stimulation can be risky. There are known complications both from the surgery, as well as from the deep brain stimulation itself. Side effects of deep brain stimulation implantation include:
- Bleeding in the brain
Deep Brain Stimulation For Depression Procedure
Deep brain stimulation requires the implantation of electrodes in the brain as well as the implantation of an electrical generator in the chest. This involves a two-part surgery.1
In the first part of the deep brain stimulation implantation procedure, the electrodes are placed in the brain. This is done through two small holes that are drilled into the skull. The patient is awake during the surgery but feels no pain due to the administration of a local anesthetic and because the brain itself has no pain receptors. The patient’s responses help guide the electrode placement along with neuroimaging techniques.
In the second part of the surgery, the patient is under general anesthesia the deep brain stimulator is implanted and the electrodes are connected to it by wires known as leads.The deep brain stimulator is known as a pulse generator and is implanted into the chest. The pulse generator must be surgically replaced when the battery runs out, about every 6-18 months.
Once the deep brain stimulation surgery is complete, the pulse generator is turned on about one week later. Stimulation of the brain is generally constant once the device is turned on.
Also Check: Can A Chemical Imbalance Cause Depression
Enjoy Both Bluelink Connected Careand Remote Services For Only $990 Per Month*
to see if you qualify and enroll today with promo code:
Copy the code and Log in to: MyHyundai.com
*Requires Remote Start capable vehicle and valid credit card on file. Subscription rates will be $9.90 per month for both Connected Care and Remote packages. This will be reflected on the account prior to the expiration of the 90-day offer. This pricing will continue while the account remains active. If the account is cancelled at any time, the promotional pricing will expire and may not be available again. Promotion is only available for new Bluelink subscribers and not existing subscribers. This promotion is applicable to select VINs only and is nontransferable. Only use Bluelink and corresponding devices when it is safe to do so. Cellular and GPS coverage is required. Bluelink is available on most new Hyundai vehicles. Features,specifications, and fees vary by subscription plan and are subject to change. For more on details and limitations, visit HyundaiUSA.com or your authorized Hyundai dealer. Bluelink features are subject to adequate cellular coverage, signal strength, and battery power, and only available in the 50 United States. You must be an active Bluelink subscriber or within the initial free trial period to receive Bluelink services.
Pros Of Deep Brain Stimulation For Opioid Use Disorder
Deep brain stimulation may have certain benefits to offer people with opioid addiction who have exhausted other treatment options.
Because this treatment directly affects structures of the brain, this treatment could be capable of reducing urges to use drugs and eliminating the rewarding aspects of opioid drug effects.
What this may help to do:
Read Also: What Are The Characteristics Of Depression
Guidelines With Unclear Methodology
- AndersonDG, Van CollerR, CarrJ. South African guideline on deep brain stimulation for Parkinsons disease. S Afr Med J. 2017 107:10271032.
- FoxSH, KatzenschlagerR, LimSY, et al. International Parkinson and movement disorder society evidence-based medicine review: update on treatments for the motor symptoms of Parkinsons disease. Mov Disord. 2018 33:12481266.
Does It Work For Opioid Addiction
Although preliminary data on the usefulness of this treatment are positive thus far, these results are preliminaryand are therefore not conclusive.
One participant of the ongoing West Virginia study, who has struggled with addiction to both opioids and benzodiazepines, told NBC News that DBS had immediate, night-and-day effects.
This treatment has also had promising results for treating other forms of drug addiction, according to some other human and animal studies.
For example, deep brain stimulation has also been studied as a treatment for:
- cocaine dependence
- nicotine addiction
- polysubstance abuse
Still, substance abuse experts caution that there is more research to be done on this type of treatment. Broader use of deep brain stimulation for opioid addiction, therefore, could still be years away.
Don’t Miss: Who Do I Talk To If I M Depressed
Cons Of Deep Brain Stimulation For Opioid Use Disorder
Deep brain stimulation is still a novel treatment, especially in its use for treating addiction.
Because of this, there are still unknowns about important aspects of this medical treatment.
- how much it will cost
- when it will be widely available
- its safety for treating addiction
- whether it can be effective as a standalone treatment
- who may be able to benefit from this treatment
- if it can help people with dual diagnosis
- any long-term side effects of this treatment
Create An Account To Access More Content And Features On Ieee Spectrum Including The Ability To Save Articles To Read Later Download Spectrum Collections And Participate In Conversations With Readers And Editors For More Exclusive Content And Features Consider Joining Ieee
Here are three things we know about deep brain stimulation as a treatment for severe depression:
1. When the pacemaker-like brain implants do help depressed people, they get dramatically better. I have patients who got their implants 10 years ago now, says Helen Mayberg, a professor of psychiatry and neurology at Emory University and a leading researcher on DBS for depression. These people get well and they stay well, she says.
2. Unfortunately, they dont help everybody. Experimental trials by Mayberg and others have consistently had a subset of people who simply dont respond to the treatment. And two big industry-sponsored trials were counted as failures, squashing hopes that the treatment would soon be available for mainstream clinical use.
3. Researchers must figure out why some depressed patients respond to DBS while others dont otherwise their experiments will never lead to a truly practical treatment that can gain regulators approval. And two new studies with good response rates show that researchers are making progress toward that understanding.
But talk of targets may be passé. During a keynote speech at the Neuromodulation Symposium last week at the University of Minnesota, Mayberg described her latest results, and her teams reconceptualization of depression in neural circuit terms.
You May Like: I Feel So Lonely And Depressed
Deep Brain Stimulation: Benefits And Risks
The benefits of deep brain stimulation include:
- Results can be tailored to your specific needs
- Surgery targets symptoms on both sides of the body
- The effects of surgery are reversible
- Stimulation can be reduced or adjusted to minimize side-effects
- Once implanted, the device provides continuous symptom control, unlike medication
Despite brain stimulation benefits, the procedure also carries certain risks. These include:
- A small risk of brain hemorrhage
- Risk of paralysis, stroke and speech impairment if brain hemorrhage occurs
- Slight risk of cerebrospinal fluid leakage, which can lead to meningitis
- 15% risk of infection after electrodes are implanted
Side-effects of deep brain stimulation surgery also include:
- Swelling or tingling at the site of implantation, or in the face and lips
- Slight paralysis
- Problems with speech of vision
- Dizziness, loss of balance
- Allergic reaction to the implant
- Coordination problems
Your doctor will help you assess the pros and cons of DBS to treat your specific condition. If you want to know more about deep brain stimulation, you should talk to your doctor to find out if you are eligible. He or she can then refer to you to a neurologist for further testing to assess whether deep brain stimulation is right for you.
Deep Brain Stimulation For Psychiatric Conditions
Deep brain stimulation is a procedure that begins with a surgeon placing electrodes in select areas of the brain, as well as an implantable pulse generator under the skin in the upper chest. Much like a pacemaker, this device sends pulses of custom, adjustable parameters to the electrodes in the brain.
Researchers have pinpointed areas in the depressed brain that could benefit from stimulation. Theyve noted two particular places: the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex and the ventral capsule/ventral striatum .
You May Like: Will I Have Depression For The Rest Of My Life
What Does Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery Involve
If you are eligible for deep brain stimulation surgery, doctors will use MRI and CT scans to map your brain. They will then surgically implant electrodes into targeted areas of your brain using a thin probe called a lead. The lead is then attached to a wire that runs through your head, neck and shoulders under the skin, where it connects to a generator in the chest.
When you have woken up from your deep brain stimulation surgery, your doctors will turn on the generator, and electrical impulses will send currents to the brain. Your doctor will then test your reactions by asking you to move limbs or perform basic tasks and functions.
After the procedure, you will need to visit a neurologist to examine the results of your surgery. Deep brain stimulation is an ongoing treatment, so doctors will need to test and tweak the electrical pulses and other settings to meet your individual needs. Continuous stimulation is sent through these electrodes to block the signals that cause physical symptoms. The aim of this surgery for patients with Parkinson’s is to help them regain control over their movement.
Does Deep Brain Stimulation For Depression Work
Deep brain stimulation for depression is a treatment involving the stimulation of neurons through the use of an implanted generator and electrodes. Deep brain stimulation is currently FDA approved for the treatment of:
- Essential tremor
- Parkinson’s disease
Deep brain stimulation for depression and other disorders is currently in clinical trials. For depression, deep brain stimulation uses electricity to stimulate the part of the brain that controls mood.
Also Check: Will I Always Be Depressed
What Does Deep Brain Stimulation Cost
The cost of deep brain stimulation varies depending on where you live. In the United States, the cost of surgery can range from $35,000 to $100,000. Because it has been approved by the FDA, private insurance policies and Medicare will cover some or all of the treatment costs for those who are eligible.
A Systematic Review And Guideline Comparing Subthalamic Nucleus Deep Brain Stimulation To Globus Pallidus Internus Deep Brain Stimulation For The Treatment Of Patients With Pd
- RughaniA, SchwalbJM, SidiropoulosC, et al. Congress of Neurological Surgeons systematic review and evidence-based guideline on subthalamic nucleus and globus pallidus internus deep brain stimulation for the treatment of patients with Parkinsons disease: executive summary. Neurosurgery. 2018 82:753756..
Recommended Reading: How Many Medications Are There For Depression