Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a treatment that surgically places electrodes in areas of the brain to disrupt various brain circuits. Physicians have used such neurostimulation devices to treat patients with Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.
Doctors have suggested that DBS could treat some forms of depression, particularly for cases that have not responded to other conventional treatments. However, the areas of the brain that depression impacts can be different for patients. Making specific alterations to the devices to address the individual needs may make the devices appropriate for treating depression.
Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) have shared the case study of a woman named Sarah, who had a treatment-resistant major depressive disorder. Doctors successfully treated her using a neurostimulation device adapted to her specific needs. The researchers published their findings in the Journal Nature Medicine.
Dr. Katherine Scangos, assistant professor in psychiatry at the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences and lead author of the paper, said this research showed that psychiatrists might be able to offer more personalized medicine in the future.
She said: “Evidence this kind of therapy can work provides hope to patients and is certainly something that is meaningful to me, in that we as psychiatrists will be able to help people with mental illness.”
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