Is deep-brain stimulation the answer for depression patients? A new seminar being released by researchers at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center looks at depression in a new light. For years, depression was seen as a symptom of many different disorders. The standard treatment was to prescribe anti-depressants, many of which result in increased suicidal thoughts and negative health benefits. The seminar, written by University of Pittsburgh professors David Kupfer, Mary Phillips and Ellen Frank, looks at new treatments that are currently being tested, as well as how depression is diagnosed.
Deep Brain Stimulation vs. Traditional Treatments
Deep brain stimulation is a new treatment being developed in Europe and the United States. It is currently pending approval by the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medical Agencies. Deep brain stimulation is the bilateral implantation of electrodes into the brain, stimulating receptors with electrical currents. Along with the electrodes, a pulse generator is also implanted into the skull, which is tailored to the patients needs.
This is the next generation of treatments, following trans-cranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS. TMS is currently approved in the United States, but the results over time appear to diminish in treatments of recurring or chronic depression. The seminar examines the current research on TMS and deep brain stimulation, with the conclusion being that deep brain stimulation does not currently show the diminishing returns of TMS.
Depression’s Effects On The Body
The seminar examines studies linking depression to obesity in patients. Depression is a chronic disorder that has devastating effects on the body, similar to arthritis or diabetes. Studies have linked depression to many other disorders as a symptom, where depression maybe the problem, and the other health issues are the result. This is the opposite view from the perspective many doctors have when focusing on medicine.
Depression has been linked to increased rates of obesity in patients as well. The elderly are most likely to be hurt by depression, with a 65 percent correlation between depression and development of diabetes. Depression may be overlooked by medical professionals as part of an entirely different health issue, instead of being the primary issue for the patient.
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