This article is taken from Sciences et Avenir – La Recherche n ° 897, November 2021.
“It’s as if my view of the world has changed,” sums up 36-year-old Sarah, who received a personalized brain implant to treat her severe chronic depression, resistant to all other treatments. A referral published in the journal Nature Medicine. The deep brain stimulation device used makes it possible to bypass the neuronal activity specific to depression in this patient.
A directed electrical impulse
The team from the University of California, San Francisco (United States) first mapped the activation patterns corresponding to their symptoms: a fast brain wave (gamma wave) in the amygdala was identified as a biomarker of their severe mood disturbances. By sending a directed electrical impulse to counteract this, the patient’s mood changed: “The first time in five years that I laughed and smiled,” he reports. Therefore, the surgeons implanted a permanent device programmed to detect the responsible gamma wave and emit an electrical impulse to “turn off” the depression.
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