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New Study is Examining Treatment of Depression Via Implants in Brain

Posted Oct 03 2008 12:51pm

This article discusses a new research project examining the effectiveness of brain implants in the treatment of depression. The implants are being implanted in an area of the brain identified as Brodmann Area 25, which has been implicated in depression. From the article:

St. Jude Medical owns the intellectual property rights, and has various patents issued and pending, for the use of neurostimulation at Brodmann Area 25. The Libra Deep Brain Stimulation System provides mild pulses of current from a device implanted near the collarbone and connected to small electrical leads placed at specific targets in the brain.

“This depression study represents a continuation of our commitment to provide solutions for those who are suffering and in need of additional therapy options,” said Chris Chavez, president of the St. Jude Medical ANS Division. “The Brodmann Area 25 study is an important step in bringing physicians and their patients a neuromodulation therapy that, if successful, will treat this debilitating form of depression.”

Also noted in the article is that these studies are designed for people who have participated in other forms of treatment, without experiencing any relief. Unfortunately, the article suggests that treatment is considered to be medication and ECT, but no mention is made of therapy. While I agree that this sort of technique should be restricted to those who have not responded to less intrusive measures, I would also state that a course of therapy ought to be expected prior to neurostimulation. Again, depression, more than some other mental health issues, has a significant social/cognitive and environmental etiology. Therefore, an effort ought to be made to treat the client in the context of social/cognitive and environmental deficits, as opposed to simply being biological in nature.

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