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Electrical brain stimulation could aid depression

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People with long-term depression may soon be helped by a new type of electrode surgery being developed at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol.

The technique sends small spurts of electricity to either stimulate or inhibit sections of the brain via battery-powered electrical conductors inserted into holes in the skull.

In one apparently successful example, 62-year-old Sheila Cook was the first person to be given treatment.

The BBC reports that Ms Cook, who lives in Torquay, had lived with severe depression for many years. She underwent the deep brain stimulation operation and initially experienced some short-term benefit.

A second procedure, known as ablative surgery, was then carried out. Ms Cook told the BBC: “I suddenly woke up in the morning and I thought: I feel different. I want to get up. I want to do things.

“And my whole view of life changed.”

The technique may eventually replace the more destructive commonly used ablative surgery.

Seven other people were operated on and their results will be published later this year.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • SURELY THIS IS THE SAME IDEA AS ECT USED MANY YEARS AGO?

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