The scientists aim to decode depression severity and identify more precisely brain parts where electrodes should be places to help people with depression.
For decades specialists have been using electrodes to treat brain disorders – including depression. However, in case of depression it is still unclear what parts of brain should be stimulated.
Depression covers a range of symptoms, for instance, low mood, suicidality, inability to experience pleasure, and changes in motivation, sleep, and appetite. By conducting the research the neuroscientists aim to study how patterns of brain activity change according to mood swings.
The researchers set a goal to study 12 people with deep depression. Holes were drilled in the skulls to insert the electrodes. They were placed on each side of the brain to monitor the activity.
While analyzing the brain recordings the neuroscientists figured out that a region of the brain called the cingulate cortex fired one way when a patient was feeling better and the opposite way when they were feeling low.
The scientists have decoded records of only 3 out of 12 volunteers but trends are already noticeable. The researchers managed to identify an area common to all 3 participants where the depressive symptoms originated.
The neuroscientists have no intention to involve more volunteers. The produce of drilling a scull and inserting electrodes on a brain is complicated, risky and, moreover, high-priced. Researchers believe that discovered trends could be helpful in developing treatment for millions of patients with deep depression.
Depression is not a weakness; it is a complex illness and recent research conducted by a team of neuroscientists has moved them further in studying the illness and developing treatment for millions of people suffering from severe depression.