Join the club for FREE to access the whole archive and other member benefits.

Deep brain stimulation is a promising treatment for major depression


Key points from article :

A woman with severe depression has been successfully treated with an experimental brain implant.

Device works by detecting patterns of brain activity linked to depression.

Katherine Scangos, an assistant professor says "...incredible advancement in the knowledge of the brain function."

10-30% of people with depression do not respond to at least two drug treatments.

Major challenge is that the brain does not appear to have a single depression area.

Temporary brain implant recorded a wide range of activity.

Machine learning algorithm was used to identify a telltale pattern of activity.

Then automatically interrupts them using tiny pulses of electrical stimulation delivered deep inside the brain.

Scientists identified a closely connected brain area, the ventral striatum.

In second round of minimally invasive surgery, a permanent device was implanted.

With a tiny battery unit embedded in her skull, to detect the “depression signature” activity.

Device costs about $35,000 and is an adapted version the NeuroPace RNS System.

Research by University of California, San Francisco published in Nature Medicine.

Brain implant detects patterns that proceed depression and then blocks the signals

Mentioned in this article:

Tap on icon for description, click on resource name for more details.


Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Co-Director TMS & Neuromodulation Program University of California, San Francisco


Scientific Journal providing information from all areas of medicine.


Company developing neurosimulating system.


Public research university that is part of the University of California system and dedicated entirely to health science