Wednesday 20 February 2019

Stimulation to lower part of brain 'may help ease symptoms of depression'

Depression sufferers have reported significant improvements in their mood after scientists carried out stimulation treatment on an alternative part of the brain. Stock Image: PA
Depression sufferers have reported significant improvements in their mood after scientists carried out stimulation treatment on an alternative part of the brain. Stock Image: PA

Jamie Harris

Depression sufferers have reported significant improvements in their mood after scientists carried out stimulation treatment on an alternative part of the brain.

Scientists at University of California, San Francisco focused their treatment on the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), "the least understood region in the brain" situated on the lower surface above the eyes, on patients with moderate to severe depression.

A mild electrical current was delivered for three minutes to 25 patients by researchers.

"Patients said things like 'wow, I feel better', 'I feel less anxious', 'I feel calm, cool and collected'," researcher Kristin Sellers said. "Anecdotally, you could see the improvements in patients' body language. They smiled, they sat up straighter, they started to speak more quickly and naturally."

But scientists have cautioned research on larger groups will need to be carried out to understand whether stimulation of the OFC produces long-lasting improvements.

Irish Independent

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