Theauthors and doctors involved in this case study collected twelve months worthof data from a number of patients who were undergoing DBS, used at the time totreat their severe cases of depression. What the authors of this study later discoveredwas that long term use of DBS treatment proves to be an effective and entirelysafe way of treating those living with chronic depression. The study found thatpatients who had been undergoing this treatment revealed various levels ofimprovement in areas relating to both their physical and social functioning. DBStreatment simply involves the use of a device that is implanted just beneaththe collarbone area with two wires attached to the object that are inserteddirectly into the brain. After the device is properly set in place, a doctorcan flip a switch to turn it on.
In some cases, like the ones discussed in thestudy, results from the treatment can be astonishing. Inthe study, I learned that DBS treatment is basically an experimental use ofdeep brain stimulation. The target involves a particular area of the brain thatcontrols our moods.
Once the electrodes or wires have been implanted in thepatient’s brain, they deliver an electrical current to those targeted regionsof the brain in order to reduce the symptoms and the signs of various mooddisorders and diseases. Despite the fact that it is called Deep BrainStimulation (DBS), in most cases, it is not actually stimulating the brain. Bydelivering an electrical current, which is a fairly high frequency current, thenerve cells in the area of the electrode stop working, allowing the device toshut down a small volume of brain.
Even though the device is delivering an electricalcurrent, it is actually inhibiting the brain or shutting it down, rather thanstimulating it. In the study, DBS treatment proves to have a positive benefiton the underlying conditions found in the patients. Doctors can change thesettings on the device depending on individual patient profiles and for thereason it being used to treat.