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Precise brain mapping can improve response to deep brain stimulation in depression
Date:4/28/2014

Experimental studies have shown that deep brain stimulation (DBS) within the subcallosal cingulate (SCC) white matter of the brain is an effective treatment for many patients with treatment-resistant depression. Response rates are between 41 percent and 64 percent across published studies to date.

One of the proposed mechanisms of action is the modulation of a network of brain regions connected to the SCC. Identifying the critical connections within this network for successful antidepressant response is an important next step.

A new study using MRI analysis of the white matter connections examined the architecture of this network in patients who demonstrated significant response to SCC DBS. Researchers found that all responders showed a common pattern defined by three distinct white matter bundles passing through the SCC. Non-responders did not show this pattern.

The study is published online in the journal Biological Psychiatry, with the title "Defining Critical White Matter Pathways Mediating Successful Subcallosal Cingulate Deep Brain Stimulation for Treatment-Resistant Depression."

"This study shows that successful DBS therapy is not due solely to local changes at the site of stimulation but also in those regions in direct communication with the SCC," says Helen Mayberg, MD, senior author of the article, professor of psychiatry, neurology and radiology and the Dorothy C. Fuqua Chair in Psychiatric Imaging and Therapeutics at Emory University School of Medicine.

"Precisely delineating these white matter connections appears to be very important to a successful outcome with this procedure. From a practical point of view, these results may help us to choose the optimal contact for stimulation and eventually to better plan the surgical placement of the DBS electrodes."

Led by researchers at Emory University, Case Western Reserve University and Dartmouth University, the study included 16 patients
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Contact: Robin Reese
404-727-9371
Emory Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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