Fluke experiment hints deep brain stimulation really treats depression

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Deep brain stimulation could be an effective treatment for depression

PASIEKA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

It was an unwelcome shock for four people in Germany, when they suddenly had depression relapses. The condition had been kept at bay for four years by deep brain stimulation (DBS), a form of therapy whereby parts of their brains continuously receive electrical stimulation from deeply implanted electrodes.

All four experienced sudden and unexpected relapses, but recovered within around 12 hours when it was discovered that the batteries operating their implants had gone flat. The results counter suspicions that the benefits for DBS for …

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