Research News Update – Deep Brain Stimulation

Research News Update – Deep Brain Stimulation

Posted: January 23, 2012

Story highlights

The Wall Street Journal featured, on Tuesday January 17th, 2012, an article on the breakthrough Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) technology that NARSAD Grants helped create – this time showing promising results in the treatment of bipolar depression in addition to confirming prior results showing success with treatment-resistant major [unipolar] depression.

Dr. Mayberg states:
“We were particularly happy to see that bipolar patients responded as well as unipolar patients because bipolar disorder is notoriously hard to treat.”
NARSAD Grants have supported Dr. Helen Mayberg as she has pioneered the development of DBS for the treatment of severe depression. Dr. Mayberg used her first NARSAD Young Investigator Grant 20 years ago to investigate brain changes in depressed patients using functional neuroimaging. With the help of a NARSAD Independent Investigator 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’.

Dr. Mayberg has continued her studies of Area 25 DBS at Emory University and in an article published online in the Archives of General Psychiatry on January 2nd, 2012, the results of her team’s most recent work show long term abatement of symptoms in treatment-resistant patients with both unipolar and bipolar-2 depression. The lead author of the study is Dr. Paul Hotzheimer, a current NARSAD Young Investigator Grantee, mentored by Dr. Mayberg. The research demonstrates that DBS may be a potential future option for these patients who experience severe depression and have failed to respond—or failed to maintain a response—to other forms of therapy. 

Please read the Wall Street Journal article

Please read the Archives of General Psychiatry article