Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Non-invasive therapy significantly improves depression, researchers say

Date:
September 6, 2010
Source:
University of California - Los Angeles
Summary:
A unique new therapy that applies electrical stimulation to a major nerve emanating from the brain is showing promise for major depression. In a recently completed clinical trial, trigeminal nerve stimulation achieved an average of a 70 percent reduction in symptom severity over an 8-week study.

Major depression is a common and disabling brain condition marked not only by the presence of depressed mood but also by its effects on sleep, energy, decision-making, memory and thoughts of death or of suicide.

Major depression affects 15 million adults in the U.S., and the World Health Organization projects that by 2020, it will be the largest contributor to disability in the world after heart disease.

While antidepressants have helped many to recover and resume their lives, only 30 percent of patients will experience full remission with the first medication they use. Patients typically move on to try a series of other antidepressants. A persistent problem with such drugs has been major side effects, including obesity, sexual dysfunction, fatigue, drowsiness and nausea.

Now, a unique new therapy that applies electrical stimulation to a major nerve emanating from the brain is showing promise.

In a recently completed clinical trial at UCLA, trigeminal nerve stimulation (TNS) achieved an average of a 70 percent reduction in symptom severity over an eight-week study period. The study's principal investigator, Dr. Ian A. Cook, the Miller Family Professor of Psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, presented the results at a recent National Institutes of Health conference on depression and other psychiatric disorders, noting that 80 percent of the subjects achieved remission, a highly significant result in this pilot study.

TNS is not new to UCLA. It was pioneered for treatment-resistant epilepsy in humans by Dr. Christopher M. DeGiorgio, a UCLA professor of neurology. The results of a positive 12-patient feasibility trial in epilepsy were reported last year in the journal Neurology. A larger, double-blind pilot epilepsy clinical trial is underway at UCLA and the University of Southern California.

The stimulator that was used in the depression clinical trial is 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 Angeles-based 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.

The project was supported by the Joanne and George Miller and Family Endowment in Depression Research and by an anonymous philanthropic donation to UCLA.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Los Angeles. The original article was written by Mark Wheeler. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Los Angeles. "Non-invasive therapy significantly improves depression, researchers say." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100903092507.htm>.
University of California - Los Angeles. (2010, September 6). Non-invasive therapy significantly improves depression, researchers say. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100903092507.htm
University of California - Los Angeles. "Non-invasive therapy significantly improves depression, researchers say." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100903092507.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins