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New Study Supports Efficacy of Vagus Nerve Stimulation for Treatment-Resistant Depression
Date:8/20/2007

Mark S. George, M.D. Named Editor-in-Chief of New Brain Stimulation Journal

CHARLESTON, S.C., Aug. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) today announced the results of a functional MRI (fMRI) study examining the effects of VNS (Vagus Nerve Stimulation) Therapy(TM) for patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD). The study, led by Ziad Nahas, M.D., associate professor, MUSC Department of Psychiatry, appears in the August 2007 issue of peer-reviewed Neuropsychopharmacology. The results show that VNS Therapy modulates areas of the brain that control mood. The researchers also identified variables, such as length of use, strength of stimulation and level of depression, to better understand the impact of VNS Therapy.

"These data provide further insight into VNS therapy's distinct mechanism of action and support its previously demonstrated long-term, sustained efficacy," Nahas said. "We are encouraged to see the unique benefit VNS therapy may bring to patients with one of the most difficult-to-treat forms of depression and are excited to continue neurostimulation research at MUSC."

The study illustrates that VNS Therapy modifies activity of the medial prefrontal cortex, the same area of the brain targeted by many antidepressant medications and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). A critical time for such effective modulation occurs approximately at 30 weeks of treatment. Such modulation could support VNS Therapy's unique mechanism of action as a long- term treatment for chronic or recurrent depression and directly corresponds with the timeframe in which patients typically experience a decrease in symptoms. Further analysis of the data demonstrates that modulation of the brain is a dynamic process that over time leads to indirectly related improved response with continued use. These findings corroborate an earlier MUSC-led study that revealed approximately two-thirds of patients who respond to VNS Therapy continue to experi
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SOURCE Medical University of South Carolina

Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.

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