Cybernetics News
Recent News |  Archives |  Tags |  About |  Newsletter |  Submit News |  Links |  Subscribe to CyberneticsNews.com RSS Feed Subscribe


More Articles
Zombie ant fungi manipulate hosts to die on the 'doorstep' of the colonyZombie ant fungi manipulate hosts to die on the 'doorstep' of the colony

More than just X and Y: A new genetic basis for sex determinationMore than just X and Y: A new genetic basis for sex determination

Fascinating rhythm: Light pulses illuminate a rare black holeFascinating rhythm: Light pulses illuminate a rare black hole

Recycling old batteries into solar cells

Stem cells reveal how illness-linked genetic variation affects neuronsStem cells reveal how illness-linked genetic variation affects neurons

Abusive leadership infects entire teamAbusive leadership infects entire team

Water and sunlight the formula for sustainable fuelWater and sunlight the formula for sustainable fuel

Hot-spring bacteria reveal ability to use far-red light for photosynthesisHot-spring bacteria reveal ability to use far-red light for photosynthesis

Shaping the future of nanocrystalsShaping the future of nanocrystals

Proteins: New class of materials discoveredProteins: New class of materials discovered

'Just right' plant growth may make river deltas resilient'Just right' plant growth may make river deltas resilient

Study suggests hatha yoga boosts brain function in older adultsStudy suggests hatha yoga boosts brain function in older adults

Program earns kudos for improving grades, retaining studentsProgram earns kudos for improving grades, retaining students

Has the puzzle of rapid climate change in the last ice age been solved?Has the puzzle of rapid climate change in the last ice age been solved?

Common household chemicals decrease reproduction in mice, study findsCommon household chemicals decrease reproduction in mice, study finds

Lithium-based neutron detector named among Top 100 technologies of the yearLithium-based neutron detector named among Top 100 technologies of the year

Diamonds are a quantum computer's best friendDiamonds are a quantum computer's best friend

Our ancestor's 'leaky' membrane answers big questions in biologyOur ancestor's 'leaky' membrane answers big questions in biology

Crash-testing rivetsCrash-testing rivets

Scientists discover the miracle of how geckos move, cling to ceilingsScientists discover the miracle of how geckos move, cling to ceilings

Photo editing algorithm changes weather, seasons automaticallyPhoto editing algorithm changes weather, seasons automatically

Geography matters: Model predicts how local 'shocks' influence U.S. economyGeography matters: Model predicts how local 'shocks' influence U.S. economy

Shrinking dinosaurs evolved into flying birdsShrinking dinosaurs evolved into flying birds

Running for life: How speed restricts evolutionary change of the vertebral columnRunning for life: How speed restricts evolutionary change of the vertebral column

A healthy lifestyle adds years to lifeA healthy lifestyle adds years to life

Do probiotics help kids with stomach bugs?Do probiotics help kids with stomach bugs?

Strict diet suspends development, doubles lifespan of wormsStrict diet suspends development, doubles lifespan of worms

Identified for the first time what kind of explosive has been used after the detonationIdentified for the first time what kind of explosive has been used after the detonation

Copied from nature: Detecting software errors via genetic algorithmsCopied from nature: Detecting software errors via genetic algorithms

Nerve stimulation for severe depression changes brain function (5/9/2013)

Tags:
medical implants, electric stimulation, brain implants
PET scans of patients successfully treated with vagus nerve stimulation show marked increases in cerebral glucose metabolism after 12 months of treatment (bottom image, red/orange area in yellow circle) in parts of the brainstem thought to be critical in depression. In nonresponders, glucose metabolism decreased in the same brain region (top image, blue/green area in yellow circle). -  Copyright Brain Stimulation 2013, with permission
PET scans of patients successfully treated with vagus nerve stimulation show marked increases in cerebral glucose metabolism after 12 months of treatment (bottom image, red/orange area in yellow circle) in parts of the brainstem thought to be critical in depression. In nonresponders, glucose metabolism decreased in the same brain region (top image, blue/green area in yellow circle). - Copyright Brain Stimulation 2013, with permission

For nearly a decade, doctors have used an implanted electronic stimulator to treat severe depression in people who don't respond to standard antidepressant therapy.

Now, preliminary brain scan studies conducted by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are beginning to reveal the processes occurring in the brain during stimulation and may provide some clues about how the device improves depression. They found that vagus nerve stimulation brings about changes in brain metabolism weeks or even months before patients begin to feel better.

The findings will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Brain Stimulation and are now available online.

"Previous studies involving large numbers of people have demonstrated that many with treatment-resistant depression improve with vagus nerve stimulation," says first author Charles R. Conway, MD, associate professor of psychiatry. "But little is known about how this stimulation works to relieve depression. We focused on specific brain regions known to be connected to depression."

Conway's team followed 13 people with treatment-resistant depression. Their symptoms had not improved after many months of treatment with as many as five different antidepressant medications. Most had been depressed for at least two years, but some patients had been clinically depressed for more than 20 years.

All of the participants had surgery to insert a device to electronically stimulate the left vagus nerve, which runs down the side of the body from the brainstem to the abdomen. Once activated, the device delivers a 30-second electronic stimulus to the vagus nerve every five minutes.

To establish the nature of the treatment's effects on brain activity, the researchers performed positron emission tomography (PET) brain imaging prior to the initiation of stimulation, and again three and 12 months after stimulation had begun.

Eventually, nine of the 13 subjects experienced improvements in depression with the treatment. However, in most cases it took several months for improvement to occur.

Remarkably, in those who responded, the scans showed significant changes in brain metabolism following three months of stimulation, which typically preceded improvements in symptoms of depression by several months.

"We saw very large changes in brain metabolism occurring far in advance of any improvement in mood," Conway says. "It's almost as if there's an adaptive process that occurs. First, the brain begins to function differently. Then, the patient's mood begins to improve."

Although the patients remained on antidepressants for several months after their stimulators were implanted, Conway says many of those who responded to the device eventually were able to stop taking medication.

"Sometimes the antidepressant drugs work in concert with the stimulator, but it appears to us that when people get better, it is the vagus nerve stimulator that is doing the heavy lifting," Conway explains. "Stimulation seems to be responsible for most of the improvement we see."

Additionally, the PET scans demonstrated that structures deeper in the brain also begin to change several months after nerve stimulation begins. Many of those structures have high concentrations of brain cells that release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain's reward and pleasure centers and also helps regulate emotional responses.

There is a consensus forming among depression researchers that problems in dopamine pathways may be particularly important in treatment-resistant depression, according to Conway. And he says the finding that vagus nerve stimulators influence those pathways may explain why the therapy can help and why, when it does work, its effects are not transient. Patients who respond to vagus nerve stimulation tend to get better and to stay better.

"We hypothesized that something significant had to be occurring in the brain, and our research seems to back that up," he says.

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by the Washington University School of Medicine

Post Comments:

Search
New Articles
Louisiana Tech University researchers use 3D printers to create custom medical implantsLouisiana Tech University researchers use 3D printers to create custom medical implants

Research paves way for development of cyborg moth 'biobots'Research paves way for development of cyborg moth 'biobots'

Bionic liquids from ligninBionic liquids from lignin

A self-organizing thousand-robot swarmA self-organizing thousand-robot swarm

Bypass commands from the brain to legs through a computerBypass commands from the brain to legs through a computer

Researchers develop defense against cyberattacks

'Shape-shifting' material could help reconstruct faces'Shape-shifting' material could help reconstruct faces

Tattoo biobatteries produce power from sweat (video)Tattoo biobatteries produce power from sweat (video)

How is computer vision applied in robotics and the industry?How is computer vision applied in robotics and the industry?

'Seeing' through virtual touch is believing'Seeing' through virtual touch is believing

On the frontiers of cyborg science

Small, origami-inspired pop-up robots function autonomouslySmall, origami-inspired pop-up robots function autonomously

Artificial retina: Physicists develop an interface to the optical nerve

Prolonged electrical stimulation causes no damage to sacral nerve roots in rabbitsProlonged electrical stimulation causes no damage to sacral nerve roots in rabbits

Research letter examines pacemaker use in patients with cognitive impairment



Archives
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007


Science Friends
Agricultural Science
Astronomy News
Sports Medicine
Biology News
Biomimicry Science
Cognitive Research
Chemistry News
Tissue Engineering
Cancer Research
Electonics Research
Forensics Report
Fossil News
Genetic Archaeology
Genetics News
Geology News
Microbiology Research
Nanotech News
Parenting News
Physics News


  Archives |  Submit News |  Advertise With Us |  Contact Us |  Links
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. All contents © 2000 - 2015 Web Doodle, LLC. All rights reserved.