Researchers Find Novel Neuromodulation Approach That Can Address Chronic Treatment-Resistant Depression

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Nowadays targeted neuromodulation specifically focusing on a patient’s distinctive symptoms is common in the correction of misfiring brain circuits in epileptic or Parkinson’s disease patients. Now, UC San Francisco Dolby Family Centre for Mood Disorders researchers have identified a proprietary personalized neuromodulation way of offering relief from chronic treatment-resistant depression symptoms in minutes.

A new targeted neuromodulation approach can treat depression

Interestingly, this novel approach is meant to potentially treat a significant portion of people facing chronic treatment-resistant depression at high suicide risk. Katherine Scangos the study’s corresponding author indicated that the brain is an electric organ just like the heart, and there is an increase in acceptance in the area that faulty brain networks can lead to depression. And just like Parkinson’s and epilepsy they can be changed into a healthy state through targeted stimulation. Katherine said that past attempts to create neuromodulation for depression have been applying stimulation in the same area in all patients and on a schedule that regularly fails to target the compulsive brain state.

Most importantly, depression affects different people in different ways. Katherine added that mapping of individualized areas for neuromodulation as per a patient’s symptoms is an area yet to be explored. In the study published in Nature Medicine, researchers mapped mild stimulation effects on various mood-related brain sites in a patient that had chronic treatment-resistant depression.

The study lays the ground for the PRESIDIO trial

The study established that different site stimulations can alleviate specific brain disease symptoms like boosting energy levels, reducing anxiety, and restoring pleasure in daily activities. Most importantly, the different stimulation sites benefits depend on the individual’s mental state.

This proof of concept study lays the foundation for a five-year clinical study Katherine and her team and conducting. The study called PRESIDIO will evaluate the effectiveness of targeted neuromodulation in 12 patients suffering from chronic treatment resistant depression. The researchers will build on the current study through the identification of brain signatures reflecting patients’ symptoms. With such information, it will be easier to program neuromodulation devices with real time targeted stimulation. 

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