Mental Health and Deep Brain Stimulation
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an evolution of two surgical procedures that
have been shown to help control symptoms of certain disorders such as
Parkinson's disease, essential tremor, and multiple sclerosis. Researchers are
now studying the use of DBS for certain types of mental disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder and major depression, that are resistant
to other forms of treatment.
How Does Deep Brain Stimulation Work?
DBS uses techniques from thalamotomy and pallidotomy, which are procedures
used to destroy certain areas of the brain called the thalamus and the globus
pallidus, respectively, to treat various conditions. However, those procedures
carry significant risks such as paralysis, loss of vision, and loss of speech
and their effects are non-reversible.
DBS is a way to interrupt the activity of the thalamus or globus pallidus
without destroying those parts of the brain as is done in thalamotomy and
pallidotomy. As a result fewer side effects are associated with DBS, which is
DBS may be a good treatment option for hard to treat mental conditions
because the thalamus serves as a "relay station" for signals to and from other
parts of the brain, including the amygdala, which is involved in the response
to fear or stress.
Learn more about DBS.