According to the results of a recent study conducted by researchers from Bonn University Hospital, when patients who suffer from depression are given pacemaker electrode implants, the results are amazing.
The implants are placed into the medial forebrain bundle that is located in the brains of depression patients. Six out of the seven patients who received the implants saw an improvement in their depression symptoms to a large degree. The best part is that those benefits occurred very quickly. This type of deep brain stimulation has been tested previously in different areas of the brain, but didn’t work as well. This study’s results have been published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.
“Such sensational success both in terms of the strength of the effects, as well as the speed of the response has so far not been achieved with any other method,” says Prof. Dr. Thomas E. Schläpfer from Bonn University Hospital Department of Psychiatry und Psychotherapy (Bonner Uniklinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie).
As for the implant’s long-term effects, the psychiatrist from Bonn University Hospital says, “Obviously, we have now come closer to a critical structure within the brain that is responsible for major depression.”
Depression is a condition that affects billions of people worldwide — and one which generally is treated with antidepressants like Paxil and Effexor. However, the drugs have proven to be dangerous for most people to use. Paxil and Effexor are also known to cause serious side effects, which can include violent and suicidal thoughts and behaviors as well as birth defects in babies whose mothers take the drug while pregnant. Some of those defects include PPHN, spina bifida, neural tube defects and oral clefts. A study like this may go a long toward helping depressed patients find alternative treatments to these dangerous prescription medications.