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Podcast: How deep brain stimulation relieves depression symptoms

| | December 13, 2018

There’s new evidence that mild pulses of electricity can relieve depression — if they reach the right target in the brain.

A study of 25 people with epilepsy found that those who had symptoms of depression felt better almost immediately when doctors electrically stimulated an area of the brain just above the eyes, a team reported [November 29] in the journal Current Biology.

These people were in the hospital awaiting surgery and had wires inserted into their brains to help doctors locate the source of their seizures.

Several of the patients talked about the change they felt when the stimulation of the lateral orbitofrontal cortex began, says Kristin Sellers, an author of the paper and a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, San Francisco. One person’s response was: “Wow, I feel a lot better. … What did you guys do?”

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The stimulation only lasted a few minutes. After it stopped, the effect on mood quickly faded.

To be sure that the effect was real, the researchers also pretended to stimulate the lateral OFC in the same patients without actually running current through the tiny wires implanted in their brains. In those sham treatments, there was no discernible change.

The results add to the evidence that patients with depression can be helped with an approach known as deep brain stimulation.

Read full, original post: Scientists Improve Mood By Stimulating A Brain Area Above The Eyes

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