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Biol Psychiatry. 2013 Jun 15;73(12):1204-12. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.01.034. Epub 2013 Apr 3.

Rapid effects of deep brain stimulation for treatment-resistant major depression.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Bonn, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Treatment-resistant major depressive disorder is a prevalent and debilitating condition. Deep brain stimulation to different targets has been proposed as a putative treatment.

METHODS:

In this pilot study, we assessed safety and efficacy of deep brain stimulation to the supero-lateral branch of the medial forebrain bundle in seven patients with highly refractory depression. Primary outcome criterion was severity of treatment-resistant major depressive disorder as assessed with the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale. General psychopathologic parameters, social functioning, and tolerance were assessed with standardized scales, the Global Assessment of Functioning scale, quality of life (Short-Form Health Survey Questionnaire), and neuropsychological tests.

RESULTS:

All patients showed strikingly similar intraoperative effects of increased appetitive motivation. Six patients attained the response criterion; response was rapid--mean Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale of the whole sample was reduced by>50% at day 7 after onset of stimulation. At last observation (12-33 weeks), six patients were responders; among them, four were classified as remitters. Social functioning (Global Assessment of Functioning) improved in the sample as a whole from serious to mild impairment. Mean stimulation current was 2.86 mA; all side effects (strabismus at higher stimulation current, one small intracranial bleeding during surgery, infection at the implanted pulse generator site) could be resolved at short term.

CONCLUSIONS:

These preliminary findings suggest that bilateral stimulation of the supero-lateral branch of the medial forebrain bundle may significantly reduce symptoms in treatment-resistant major depressive disorder. Onset of antidepressant efficacy was rapid (days), and a higher proportion of the population responded at lower stimulation intensities than observed in previous studies.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01095263.

PMID:
23562618
DOI:
10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.01.034
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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