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Non-invasive therapy significantly improves depression, UCLA researchers say
Date:9/3/2010

s about the size of a large cell phone. Two wires from the stimulator are passed under the clothing and connected to electrodes attached to the forehead by adhesive. The electrodes transmit an electrical current to the nerve. All the patients in the trial used the device for approximately eight hours every night while asleep. In contrast to antidepressants, no major side effects were noted.

"The major branches of the trigeminal nerve in the face are located close to the surface of the skull and can be stimulated either with non-invasive external electrodes, as we used in this trial, or with minimally invasive subcutaneous electrodes," Cook said.

He added that some patients may prefer to have miniature subcutaneous electrodes implanted under the skin rather than applying new electrodes daily.

In describing TNS, DeGiorgio, co-principal investigator for the depression trial, explained that what is remarkable about the TNS approach is that it is possible to send signals to key structures deep in the brain without penetrating into the skull.

Cook hypothesized that electrical stimulation of the trigeminal nerve generates a cascading sequence of events in the existing neuronal infrastructure. In essence, he said, "TNS provides a high-bandwidth pathway into the brain."

To help bring the TNS out of the laboratory and into patient care, UCLA's Office of Intellectual Property recently executed an exclusive worldwide license for the TNS with NeuroSigma, a Los Angelesbased neuromodulation company formed in 2008 to commercialize promising technologies developed at leading universities and research institutions. DeGiorgio and Cook are among UCLA's inventors of the TNS technology and are unpaid advisers to NeuroSigma. Dr. Antonio De Salles and Jack Judy, also UCLA faculty members, are co-founders of NeuroSigma and are minority shareholders. They report no role in this project.


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Contact: Mark Wheeler
mwheeler@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2265
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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