Mental health issues can be difficult to treat. But would you be willing to have a device implanted in your brain to alleviate them?
At least 2 companies have already been creating brain chips for non-medical use (see 1, 2). Recently, a study determined that an implant can also be used to reduce depression.
From Ars Technica:
Brain Implant relieves patient’s severe depression in “landmark” US study
Device zaps brain when it detects neural activity associated with irrational thoughts.
US researchers have successfully relieved a patient’s severe, long-term depression with an electronic implant that acts like a neural pacemaker, resetting the brain circuits associated with negative feelings.
The team at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) said the study was “a landmark success” in the scientific effort to treat psychiatric disorders through carefully targeted neural electronics. The study is published in the Nature Medicine journal.
“We’ve developed a precision medicine approach that has successfully managed our patient’s treatment-resistant depression by identifying and modulating the circuit in her brain that’s uniquely associated with her symptoms,” said Andrew Krystal, UCSF professor of psychiatry.
At a press teleconference ahead of the study’s publication, the 36-year-old patient, who asked just to be called Sarah, said the implant had transformed her life after five years of intense depression that would not respond to any drug combination or electroconvulsive therapy. “I felt tortured by suicidal thoughts every day,” she said. “I was at the end of the line.”
Read more: Implant ‘zaps brain when it detects neural activity associated with irrational thoughts’