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UCLA Completes Clinical Trial Using Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation For Improvement With Depression With 80% Achieving Improvement

Posted Sep 05 2010 12:05am

Well we are getting a lot closer to the brain with treatments for sure and this same image treatment has been used for severe cases of epilepsy.  If it works well and is safe, it certainly would seem to be an improvement over a large dose of drugs on a daily diet. 

UCLA has an exclusive worldwide license for the TNS with NeuroSigma, a Los Angeles–based neuromodulation company.  In 1997 the FDA approved the process for epilepsy and now in trials for depression.  As you read through here there were 2 different options for patients, one was to sleep with a device for 8 hours and the other option was to have miniature subcutaneous electrodes implanted under the skin.  80 percent had positive results with their depression in the results published relative to the trial.  If the economy keeps going the way it is, there could more of us standing in line for this soon <grin>, but again if it works and gives an alternative to being somewhat zoned out on medications then we might see real growth in a few years.  BD

In a recently completed clinical trial at UCLA, trigeminal nerve stimulation (TNS) achieved an average of a 70 percent reduction in symptom severity over an eight-week study period. The study’s principal image investigator, Dr. Ian A. Cook, the Miller Family Professor of Psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, presented the results at a recent National Institutes of Health conference on depression and other psychiatric disorders, noting that 80 percent of the subjects achieved remission, a highly significant result in this pilot study.

TNS is not new to UCLA. It was pioneered for treatment-resistant epilepsy in humans by Dr. Christopher M. DeGiorgio, a UCLA professor of neurology. The results of a positive 12-patient feasibility trial in epilepsy were reported last year in the journal Neurology. A larger, double-blind pilot epilepsy clinical trial is underway at UCLA and the University of Southern California.

The stimulator that was used in the depression clinical trial is about the size of a large cell phone. Two wires from the stimulator are passed under the clothing and connected to electrodes attached to the forehead by adhesive. The electrodes transmit an electrical current to the nerve. All the patients in the trial used the device for approximately eight hours every night while asleep. In contrast to antidepressants, no major side effects were noted.

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