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Depression is not just a mental illness, it is a whole body illness. In a recent article, “Depression- A Whole Body Disorder“, it is revealed that research shows that depression and other psychological disorders affect the body just as much as they do the mind.
Researchers are starting to view depression as a whole-body, rather than strictly brain-based illness. New research has established that young people who suffer from long-term psychological stress, depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder tend to develop physical conditions typically associated with adults, namely stroke, dementia, heart disease and diabetes. Scientists are studying depressed people on a cellular level. They are finding the same changes to chromosomes that occur in people as they age can also be found in people dealing with major stress and depression.
These chromosomal changes are known as “accelerated aging” and this phenomenon is changing the way people in the field of mental health view depression: it’s beginning to be thought of as a systemic illness rather than a mental illness.
A study is being conducted on deep brain stimulation and its use in patients with major depression.
BROADEN™ (Brodmann Area 25 Deep brain Neuromodulation) is the first randomized clinical research study to investigate Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) as an intervention for patients diagnosed with unipolar major depressive disorder (excluding bipolar disorder) who have not improved after multiple treatments.
DBS is a therapy that uses mild pulses of current (stimulation) to regulate specific areas of the brain, the same way a pacemaker uses pulses of current to regulate the heart.
In this study, stimulation is being delivered to an area of the brain known as Brodmann Area 25, which is believed to function differently in people with major depression and appears to be overactive when people are profoundly sad and depressed.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN also discusses DBS as a therapy in an article called “Treating Depression with Electrodes Inside the Brain”. DBS actually involves drilling two holes into the skull to implant 2 battery powered electrodes deep inside the brain. DBS targets a very specific structure, Area 25 that is thought to be the ringleader of what controls our moods according to neurologist Dr. Helen Mayberg. Her research showed that Area 25 is overactive in depressed patients. DBS has been used as treatment since 1997 in patients with movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor. Dr. Mayberg worked with a Toronto neursurgeon, Dr. Andres Lozano with her first group of implant patients and published her study in 2005. DBS has given patients hope for depression.
Transcranial Magnetic Therapy is another type of therapy that is used to treat extreme cases of depression. It was first approved by the FDA in 2008. According to this Chicago Tribune article, the therapy entails having a device delivers small electric pulses to nerve cells in the emotional regulation centers of the brain through a wire coil wrapped around the patient’s head. The patient sits in a comfortable chair for the duration of the treatment, which is approximately 37 minutes. It is recommended to have 20-30 sessions over a four to six week time span. Side effects include tingling of the scalp and headache.
Aaron Waxman and Associates is a Toronto Personal Injury Law Firm. We practice personal injury law and handle long-term disability claims. If your claim has been denied, contact us for a free consultation so we can assist you to know your rights.
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