Physicians have known for 2,000 years that electricity could help troubled minds – even before they knew what electricity was. Roman Emperor Claudius pressed electric eels to his temples to quell headaches. Sixteenth-century doctors induced seizures with camphor to treat psychiatric illnesses. Now, research is advancing rapidly on a host of far more precise techniques to stimulate or calm the brain with electricity, magnets or even ultrasound and infrared waves. Most of the therapies target severe, resistant depression – a problem for nearly seven million Americans. But some are also showing promise for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorders, schizophrenia, addictions and memory problems.
(Note: The Wall Street Journal quotes NARSAD Investigators Mark George, M.D., Helen Mayberg, M.D., and Sarah Lisanby, M.D., on the use of new technologies – one of three key areas in scientific research that NARSAD invests in.)
An unexpected discovery by UCLA life scientists holds promise for the future development of treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder and other anxiety disorders, and potentially for Alzheimer’s disease and other memory-impairment diseases.
(Note: NARSAD Young Investigator Stephanie Bissiere, Ph.D., is the lead author on the Science paper reporting these findings.)
For patients with extremely severe obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a procedure called radiosurgery may bring improvement when other treatments have failed, according to a study in the January issue of Neurosurgery, official journal of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.
Reducing on-the-job stress and strain may lower the risk of depression, new research shows. Over a 10-year period, workers who initially reported having high-strain jobs but then later reported perceiving their jobs as being less stressful were at the same risk of major depression as their peers who worked at low-strain jobs for the entire time, Dr. JianLi Wang of the University of Calgary and colleagues found.
by Barbara Wheeler, NARSAD manager of communications and media relations