On CNN: Watch NARSAD-Grant Funded Research (Deep Brain Stimulation) Improve Lives

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Helen Mayberg, M.D.
Helen Mayberg, M.D.

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Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is a newer treatment option for patients with severe depression. Using pulses of current, DBS regulates specific areas of the brain (DBS is often referred to as the 'Pacemaker for the Brain'). Developed in the 1980s, DBS was not used to treat depression until Foundation Scientific Council Member Helen Mayberg, M.D. began her pioneering work with the technology in 2003 with the support of a NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Grant and the findings of her earlier NARSAD-Grant funded work.  DBS is used in the treatment of depression to target an area in the brain Dr. Mayberg found to be an important locus of depression pathology.

20 years ago, Dr. Mayberg used her first NARSAD Young Investigator Grant to investigate brain changes in depressed patients using functional neuroimaging. With the help of a second NARSAD Grant, she went on to identify the subcallosal cingulate--Brodman Area 25--as not only a key conduit of neural traffic that gives rise to emotion, but also as an area that appears overactive in depressed people. In 2002, with a NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Grant, she led breakthrough research when she piloted the use of DBS to target ‘Area 25’.

Today, a new study called BROADEN (Brodmann Area Deep brain Neuromodulation) is taking place at multiple research centers around the country including Vanderbilt University Medical Center, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Virginia Commonwealth University and the Zucker Hillside Hospital in New York in an attempt to further justify the use of DBS for treatment-resistant depression. Participating in this randomized clinical study are NARSAD Grantees Ronald Salomon, M.D. (Vanderbilt University), Anthony Rothschild, M.D. (University of Massachusetts Medical School), and Stephan Taylor, M.D. (University of Michigan).

To learn more about Deep Brain Stimulation, watch CNN Presents on April 21, 8pm EST to see a great recovery story featuring a woman who was treated by Dr. Mayberg at Emory University for her severe depression.

More info about Dr. Mayberg and her appearance on CNN Presents

Read more about the BROADEN study

To participate in the study visit: www.broadenstudy.com


Article comments

I need help to with psychosis disorder

I can relate to this woman--my depression is so bad that I wish I would die. I feel empty and alienated from everyone many times. My depression is worse than my schizophrenia symptoms! Who can I see in the Norfolk, VA area to do some testing!!!

DBS could possibly help people who have toxoplasmosis and have previously been diagnosed schizo'/effective as this parasite is often found in the brain and is hard to erradicate where could someone go to receive this treatment

What happens when they start experimenting on people who don't ask for help just to test. Or when something goes wrong and causes serious loss of mental state during a normally benign test?

There is always somebody like this dude above me who has to start inventing "conspiracy theories" ! So they should not do any legitimate testing and research and thousands of people should continue to suffer from serious mental illnesses because there is a potential danger that some nutcase might at some point in the future do a test on a healthy individual???

I have suffered severe depression for over 40 years. I am now 61 and after trying everything available to the general public I would very much like to participate in any study that could possibly help me to enjoy my remaining few years of life. If they don't work it is no loss because I'm at the end of my rope now. If something does help even a little I would feel like it was a miracle. And hopefully it would help those in the future get a normal life before their life is almost over like mine. And because I personally think my depression is a family trait passed down it would also help my future family members that may be affected. I'm desperate for any kind of help I can get but financially I can't afford any help. If I can't find a free trial study to possibly help me I am doomed to continue living in this hell forever! Please, please consider me!! Thank you, Sonjie Herst

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Please note that researchers cannot give specific recommendations or advice about treatment; diagnosis and treatment are complex and highly individualized processes that require comprehensive face-to- face assessment. Please visit our "Ask an Expert" section to see a list of Q & A with NARSAD Grantees.
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