"Scientists Improve Mood By Stimulating A Brain Area Above The Eyes" - Jon Hamilton
There's new evidence that mild pulses of electricity can relieve depression — if they reach the right target in the brain. A study of 25 people with epilepsy found that those who had symptoms of depression felt better almost immediately when doctors electrically stimulated an area of the brain just above the eyes, a team reported Thursday in the journal Current Biology. These people were in the hospital awaiting surgery and had wires inserted into their brains to help doctors locate the source of their seizures. The results add to the evidence that patients with depression can be helped with an approach known as deep brain stimulation. The latest study represents "another piece in a very complicated puzzle, a very important piece," says Dr. Helen Mayberg, a pioneer in the use of DBS to treat depression. The study also offers strong evidence that stimulating the OFC can temporarily improve the mood of a person who is feeling depressed, says Mayberg, who directs the Center for Advanced Circuit Therapeutics, which is part of the Mount Sinai Health System in New York. But it's unclear whether the stimulation can produce long-lasting changes, she says. Also, the study couldn't answer a critical question because it only looked at people who were reporting transient symptoms of depression.
— Helen S. Mayberg, MD, Professor, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Neuroscience, Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Director, Center for Advanced Circuit Therapeutic, Mount Sinai Health System