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"Brain pacemaker" could treat depression, OCD

Nilay Patel

Sending electrical shocks into the brain via a "brain pacemaker" has already led to dramatic breakthroughs like the revival of a man trapped in a vegetative state for six years, but new research may mean that the technique is soon a common treatment for disorders like depression and OCD. Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic, Mass General, Harvard Medical School and Brown Medical School implanted the Medtronics brain pacemaker into 17 people suffering from depression and tracked them for a year, finding significant improvements in mood as well as social and occupational functioning, while 26 patients suffering from OCD were followed for three years and also showed "marked improvement." Findings will be presented to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons this week in Chicago, and clinical trials are scheduled for later this year -- in other news, sales of "The Terminal Man" to neurosurgeons recently skyrocketed for unknown reasons.

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