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VNS shock implant approved for depression

Marc Perton

vns stimulatorLadies and gents, this is the real deal: the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved an implantable VNS therapy (Vagus Nerve Stimulation Therapy System) device for patients with severe depression. The device, made by Cyberonics Inc. and used since 1997 for patients with epilepsy, is implanted in a patient's chest with wiresthat connect it to the vagus nerve, which it zaps to reach a region of the brain associated with moods. Think of it as an emotional pacemaker. FDA medical device chief Dr. Daniel Schultz admitted that the agency was initially skeptical about the device's utility, but pointed out that "these are patients pretty much at the end of the line in terms of what treatment options are available to them." We'd say so. We'll be keeping our eyes peeled for forthcoming hacks to get these things to make you like, so high, bro.

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