New York. In today’s run-of-the-mill life, it has become common to have stress or depression. Many times lakhs of rupees are spent in the treatment of depression, but the patient does not get relief from it. But now depression can be halved with a special device. This is being called the brain’s pacemaker. The same happened with Sarah, a patient living in New York, USA. After all available treatments failed, Sarah, suffering from severe depression, was relieved by an implanted device. It uses implanted electrodes or thin insulated wires to stimulate the brain. Its results were also better.
A special device (NeuroPace RNS System) was implanted in Sara’s mind. This device, as big as a matchbox, is being called a ‘brain pacemaker’. Sarah became the first participant in the experimental treatment at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). Sara’s depression score dropped from 33 to 14 just 12 days after the device was activated, and reached 10 within a few months.
Prior to the installation of this device, Sara had taken the help of popular methods like treatment with 20 types of medicines, hospitalization for months, ECT (shock therapy), but all the efforts failed.
Sarah, 38, from Northern California says, ‘I was battling depression for a long time. However, after August last year, my life changed. Now there is no thought of suicide. Depression has also reduced significantly. Now I have started taking data analysis classes. The perspective of looking at the world has also changed.
Dr. Katherine Skangos, psychiatry at UCSF, explains that the method Sarah used is reportedly a type of deep brain stimulation (DBS). In the popular methods of treatment, the effects are known after four to eight weeks, whereas in this method they are detected immediately.
Skangos says that one person’s depression can look very different from another depressed person. Keeping this in mind, individual therapy was adopted for Sara.
During this experiment, experts examined Sara’s brain by applying electrodes for 10 consecutive days to identify patterns associated with depression. The device was set in such a way that as soon as a pattern of depression was observed, it would give only 6 seconds of stimulation. This stops the activity causing depression.