We all know that depression is scary and a hard-to-manage condition. But researchers are working every day to find new treatment options, and it seems that they may have found a little opened door with a new brain implant for resistant depression.
Up to a third of people that suffer from depression do not respond to treatment, and nothing seems to help. This was also the case of the patient in this study, a 36-year-old woman who has been suffering from depression since childhood. It seems that researchers have found a way to make her life better with a custom-designed brain pacemaker.
The woman stated she was severely depressed and that she couldn’t find the power to continue under those circumstances. The team of researchers from the University of California was looking at deep brain stimulation methods which could alleviate the symptoms of depression.
We know, we know, it sounds terrifying to have a small device in your brain, but it has proven successful in the past for epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease. But since depression is more complicated than these two, the results of the deep brain stimulation target a particular region of the brain.
Basically, researchers have manually tracked where the depression appeared in the brain. They have found the biomarker (the specific pattern of brainwaves), and they had used it to personalize the machine and to stimulate when and where the biomarker was found.
Then, the team put one electrode lead into the brain where the biomarker was found and a second one where the “depression circuit” was. Of course, it took some time to find the perfect spot for the symptom relief, but once it was found, the first lead would see the biomarker, and the second one would transfer a teeny-tiny amount of electricity for six seconds in the brain.
Is this the future of medicine? We sure hope so.