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"Shocking" New Depression Treatment
For depressed patients who don’t respond to therapy, antidepressants or even the controversial electroshock therapy, new hope may be on the horizon.
New brain pacemakers that are used to help Parkinson’s disease patients control their tremors are showing promise against the most extreme cases of depression and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). The latest results showed that the deep brain stimulation (DBS) released from the brain pacemakers remarkably improved six out of 17 severely depressed patients and more than half of 26 of those with extreme cases of OCD. These results are exciting for researchers who stress the need for better depression treatments for those who are not helped by traditional and even non-traditional methods: About 20% of depressed patients and 10% of OCD patients are resistant to treatment, which accounts for several million people in the United States. However, researchers caution that the brain pacemakers are still too new and too controversial to be released to the public just yet. Side effects can include brain infections and bleeding in the brain.
What do you think of DBS and the new brain pacemakers? Is it worth the risk for those who have tried other depression treatments that didn’t work? [The San Francisco Chronicle]