ATLANTAA new study shows that deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a safe and effective intervention for treatment-resistant depression in patients with either unipolar major depressive disorder (MDD) or bipolar ll disorder (BP). The study was published Online First by Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
The study was led by Helen S. Mayberg, MD, professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Neurology at Emory University School of Medicine, with co-investigators Paul E. Holtzheimer, MD, lead psychiatrist and now associate professor and director of the Mood Disorders Service, Dartmouth Medical School, and neurosurgeon Robert E. Gross, MD, PhD, associate professor in the Departments of Neurosurgery and Neurology at Emory. Gross served as chief neurosurgeon for the study.
"Depression is a serious and debilitating medical illness," says Mayberg. "When we found that the potential for effective and sustained antidepressant response with DBS for patients with otherwise treatment resistant major depressive disorder was high, the next step was to determine if patients with intractable bipolar depression could also be successfully treated."
An earlier study by Mayberg done in Toronto in collaboration with scientists at Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network and Emory, was the first to show such results for patients with treatment-resistant major depressive disorder. Mayberg conducted this new expanded trial at Emory to include patients with bipolar ll disorder.
Bipolar spectrum disorder, sometimes referred to as manic-depression, is characterized by bouts of mania or hypomania alternating between episodes of depression. Although people with bipolar ll disorder do not have full manic episodes, depressive episodes are frequent and intense, and there is a high risk of suicide. A major challenge in treating bipolar depression is that many antidepressant medications
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