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Medical Deep brain stimulation

  1. Aug 6, 2006 #1

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    I am reading an article in this month's SciAm mind about treating depression with deep-brain stimulation. Researchers found that an area known as Area 25 is overactive in patients with severe depression. From what I understand, this area is sort of a "traffic controller" for neural paths between the frontal cortex and the limbic system. They did some neuroimaging experiments and found that when a depression attack occurred, frontal cortex activity plummeted and Area 25 activity increased. As the depressive episode subsided, frontal activity revived and Area 25 activity settled down.

    Anyway, what they did to treat these patients was implant electrodes into Area 25, and then used an implanted "pacemaker" to send current to them.

    What I am not clear about is how the electrical stimulation inhibits rather than excites the firing in this area.
     
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  3. Aug 6, 2006 #2
    I remember seeing a show on Discovery Health about a man who was near suicide and had been severly depressed for many years until he got the implant. Now he lives a normal life. Very interesting.
     
  4. Aug 6, 2006 #3

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    They had some pretty amazing results. Some of the patients felt better as soon as they turned on the electrodes. 2/3 of them returned to normal mood and function within months.
     
  5. Aug 6, 2006 #4
    excitation of some neurons might inhibit neighbouring ones...or the neurons them selves might shut off(not sure chemically) if neighbouring synapses are being excited.
     
  6. Aug 6, 2006 #5

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    sounds a little like guess work. Of course, the surgeon did say she is still investigating why this worked.
     
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