Correcting “Treatment Resistant Depression”
On April 14, 2012, Dr. Sanjay Gupta appeared on CNN and discussed the relatively new procedure “DBS” which targets “Area 25” of the brain. He explained that “DBS” stands for “deep brain stimulation.” This is a surgical procedure which is showing promise in the treatment of major depressive disorder, movement disorders, and OCD. DBS works by implanting pacemaker-like electrodes on the white matter in “Area 25,” which is in the cerebral cortex region of the brain. A research neurologist, Dr. Helen Mayberg has been researching brain scan studies targeting “Area 25” of the brain since 1999. She recently published her research which revealed that “Area 25” of the brain is overactive in depressed patients and appears to be the main area of the brain circuits that controls mood.
In 2003, Dr. Mayberg and Dr. Andres Lozano, a neurosurgeon, first tested the procedure on patients. The procedure involves drilling two holes in the skull and implanting battery-powered electrodes in the brain while the patient is awake. The batteries are recharged with external chargers similar to pacemaker devices. Drs.’ Mayberg and Lozano published their results in 2005. Dr. Mayberg is the co-holder of the patent for the procedure which has been licensed to St. Jude Medical, Inc. but has not yet been approved by the FDA for commercial use for “treatment resistant depression.” The FDA has awarded limited approval to another private company for use for “intractable obsessive compulsive disorder.” DBS has been used since 1997 for movement disorders including for Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Helen Mayberg is hopeful that “DBS” can effectively improve mood for “treatment resistant depression” in the vast majority of cases.