A pacemaker-type device that jolts the brain and regulates mood circuits Jolting the brain fights deep depression

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    May 02, 2008 9:54 PM GMT
    A pacemaker-type device that jolts the brain and regulates mood circuits

    Story Highlights

    Delivering electrical jolt deep in brain found to help depression, researchers say

    Implanted electrodes emit impulses of electrical stimulation into brain

    Expert: "We are regulating the abnormal signals to brain causing the depression"

    Treatment is only for severe depression that hasn't responded to other therapies

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/conditions/05/02/deep.brain.stim/index.html
  • joeindallas

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    May 02, 2008 10:19 PM GMT
    Why Depression is a normal aspect of life
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    May 03, 2008 10:04 AM GMT
    joeindallas saidWhy Depression is a normal aspect of life


    ... until it leads to life ending prematurely.
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    May 31, 2008 5:03 AM GMT
    I.....think.....it's.....a.....great.....idea!icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jun 10, 2008 2:43 AM GMT
    could I just stick my finger in the electrical outlet when I feel down instead? I think my health coverage would be more willing to cover that rather than a device that has to be surgically implanted.
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    Jul 25, 2008 10:58 PM GMT
    My former boss had this done. She had extensive nerve damage from an accident, such that the pain regulating neurons in her brain never shut off. (Probably a much better explanation for this, but I don't know it.) Anyway, she has a little device about the size of a cell phone. Different settings according to where the pain is in her body. Also settings to alleviate anxiety (slow the fight or flight response, I guess?) and settings to elevate depressed mood. It really has made a huge impact on her quality of life. An interesting concept, really.
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    Jul 25, 2008 11:01 PM GMT
    muscletroy saidcould I just stick my finger in the electrical outlet when I feel down instead? I think my health coverage would be more willing to cover that rather than a device that has to be surgically implanted.


    I was thinking maybe peeing in a light socket.
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    Jul 25, 2008 11:07 PM GMT
    I've seen similar used by cults to alter people's susceptibility to brain washing makes people more agreeable, less objective and resistant
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    Jul 26, 2008 5:39 AM GMT
    Any discussion on this device helping migraines? In the latest Scientific American there's talk of a magnetic resonance device they're just beginning to test on people who are sensing the aura state of the migraine (it seems to stop the electrical cascade that precedes the pain phase).
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    Jul 26, 2008 7:29 AM GMT
    Yep. icon_eek.gif And when he is happy he can jump-start a car on a cold day.
  • kcdoc89

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    Jul 26, 2008 3:28 PM GMT
    mickeytopogigio saidAny discussion on this device helping migraines? In the latest Scientific American there's talk of a magnetic resonance device they're just beginning to test on people who are sensing the aura state of the migraine (it seems to stop the electrical cascade that precedes the pain phase).


    Cyberonics, the company that makes theses devices (Vagal Nerve Stimulator implants, or VNS) is currently doing clinical studies on patients with headaches/migraines. Too early to say if it will help, though. The problem with VNS is that the device is extremely expensive ($17,000), and, at least for treating depression, no insurance company will cover the cost. I'll implant patients with treatment refractory seizure disorder (which is covered by insurance), and it helps about 2/3 of those folks reduce the frequency of their seizures.
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    Jul 26, 2008 4:52 PM GMT
    kcdoc89 saidCyberonics, the company that makes theses devices (Vagal Nerve Stimulator implants, or VNS) is currently doing clinical studies on patients with headaches/migraines.
    Aren't VNS also used to treat chronic hiccups also? BTW, I see that you do head and neck surgery, do you install gills? I want to live under the ocean, under the sea icon_lol.gif
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    Jul 26, 2008 5:07 PM GMT
    Didn't shock therapy become obsolete in the '60s?
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    Jul 26, 2008 5:15 PM GMT
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    Jul 27, 2008 4:30 PM GMT
    This sounds like a more modern and exact application of electro-shock therapy. Although electro-shock therapy has gotten a bad rap in the past due to movies like "One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest", if used properly it can actually be a lifesaver. My brother had a HS Math teacher who suffered from bipolar disorder. They had to use electroshock therapy to save his life due to severe depression.
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    Jul 27, 2008 4:31 PM GMT
    joeindallas saidWhy Depression is a normal aspect of life


    Severe depression is an illness that is treatable. I don't think this treatment is for an every day case of the blues.
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    Jul 28, 2008 8:53 AM GMT
    This is not comparable in any way to shock therapy. Shock therapy, aka Electroconvulsive therapy uses electrical current to induce isolated seizure episodes. This method is still in use and MANY people with severe depression which has been refractory to other treatment methods, find great success in it. The only issue is that most patients need to go in cycles, and cannot use this as a curative therapy.

    This new type of treatment uses deep brain stimulation on a specific area of the brain (Broadmann Area 25), wherein an implantable pacemaker-type device consistently delivers a jolt (not felt by the patient) to the area, which has been shown to be sizably and functionally different in severely depressed persons. In the small number of patients who have already gone through this procedure, many have found great success. The issues, of course, are that a) it's a highly invasive procedure (it's brain surgery!), and 2) the long-term effects of continual brain stimulation are yet unknown, whereas since ECT has been around for decades, its effects are pretty much known. If anyone wants more information about how to get into the current clinical trial, go to www.broadenstudy.com. Currently, you have to live in Chicago, NYC or Houston (I think) to be eligible, and your current psychiatrist has to attest that your depression is bad enough and unresponsive enough to merit invasive brain surgery. If anyone wants any more info, feel free to message me.
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    Jan 13, 2009 5:51 PM GMT
    OH my GOD! That is AMAZING!

    I never knew there was a follow up to Rocky Horror Picture Show.
    Thanks MindGarden
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    Jan 13, 2009 5:52 PM GMT
    I still think depression is best-managed using a little social exposure, frequent exercise, and proper diet.

    Probably a hell of a lot cheaper than getting wired up.
  • CSPYNY

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    Jan 14, 2009 1:39 AM GMT
    flex89 saidI still think depression is best-managed using a little social exposure, frequent exercise, and proper diet.

    Probably a hell of a lot cheaper than getting wired up.


    I hear you there!

    If I'm by myself for extended periods of time, and don't do anything and eat garbage I get extremely depressed.

    But there's depression like that and then those that are depressed for other reasons.