The use of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) to treat depression achieved great success, as with other diseases such as Parkinson’s.

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is a procedure framed in neuropsychiatry which mainly consists of electrical stimuli applied internally in a particular area of ​​the brain, with the intent to heal or at least lessen brain-related diseases. Among others, has been used to treat Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). There is a new open field: the treatment of major depression.


CCS applied to deep depressions

It is applying DBS to try to improve the status of patients with deep depressions. One of the pioneers in the use of DBS for depression is the Spanish neurosurgeon Andres Lozano, who carries out his work at the University of Toronto. According to Lozano”We’ve seen that patients with depression have a center in the brain of sadness overactivated. It’s as if your thermostat was forty degrees instead of twenty. By placing the electrodes, we can reduce this activity and thereby send their disease. “

With Dr. Andres Lozano works psychiatrist Helen Mayberg, and both are experimenting with this technique since 2003, Mayberg has also done some testing in patients with bipolar disorder, although so far there have been fewer trials and therefore not yet can know with certainty their effectiveness for these bipolar disorders.

The ECP in Spain

In Spain, the DBS has its main precursors in the Affective Disorders Unit of the Hospital St Paul and Holy Cross Barcelona, ​​who have learned the development of these techniques directly from Dr. Andres Lozano.

By Pains Puigdemont, A psychiatrist at the hospital, “we apply the electrodes in the area identified by Mayberg’s team, GC25 area, and have not seen any side effects. Now we treated ten patients with a mean age of 47 years. These patients have an average of six or seven years with major depression and no improvement after several treatments. The result is absolutely brutal, because I know for many years and each time they returned to the query without any improvement had a great sense of impotence. Now, when you see the changes, it is exciting. ”

Surgery is necessary to enter

According to these experts, the DBS is different electrocompulsiva therapy (known as electroshock): The ECP is more invasive, although the stimuli are sent only to a brain area to where you want to send, and not the entire brain as with electroshock.

What is needed to treat the depression deep con ECP is that the patient enters the operating room, and is not an easy intervention. First, we study the brain, and choose the exact spot on which to act. Subsequently, the patient is awake, he makes a hole in the skull and be involved in the area called the cingulate subcallosa or GC25 area, and that stimulation is performed first. If all goes well, will be placed electrodes connected by a cord under the skin to a neurostimulator, manipulated with external control typically implanted in the abdominal area. Postoperatively, the patient can lead a perfectly normal life, even if this complex mechanism inside.

The ECP is applied in various fields

Deep Brain Stimulation is increasingly applied in more fields. In addition to treating severe depression is also a widespread therapy for the treatment of Parkinson’s, since a large number of patients being treated with ECP. But it is also applied in epilepsy, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and, recently, Alzheimer’s disease.