Tag Archives: Neurons

TREATING DEPRESSION: DEEP BRAIN STIMULATION (UCSF)

UCSF Health physicians have successfully treated a patient with severe depression by tapping into the specific brain circuit involved in depressive brain patterns and resetting them using the equivalent of a pacemaker for the brain.

COMMENTARY:

UCSF is my medical alma mater, and I am proud to comment on their info graphic about need-driven deep brain stimulation (DBS). This is not only a good idea, it should spearhead a personalized wave of the future.

Your body’s metabolism is a great balancing act, and needs to be kept on an even keel, to maintain the stability of your internal environment. What is “good” at one time may be deleterious at another.

Good illustrations of this are insulin and thyroid hormone. Both too little and too much is deleterious.

Likewise, the need for DBS varies.. This was recognized by the designers of feedback-driven DBS. The amygdala is overactive when the depressive wave is greatest, triggering the deep brain stimulation. As the depressive wave lightens, the stimulation diminishes or stops.

Engineers are quite attentive to this idea.  A similar feedback mechanism is used by implanted heart stimulators, or “ defibrillators“. if the heart slows down excessively, there is stimulation of the atrium to restore the proper rate. If the ventricle is ineffective, and fibrillates, it is given a shock which acts like rebooting your computer.

Chronotherapy, the administration of medication depending upon the time of day, is a kindred idea, illustrated by asthma. Wheezing attacks peak at night, when adrenaline and cortisol ebb, and so should the blood levels of the anti-asthmatic medication, theophylline.

Another illustration is the medication omeprazole, a proton pump inhibitor that reduces stomach acid. Reflux of this acid into the esophagus increases when you are recumbent and sleeping.. The need for the antacid is therefore greatest at night.

It is estimated that the effects of at least 50% of all medications would  benefit by attending to the diurnal cycles. If your symptoms cycle with the sun, ask your doctor about your medications.

—Dr. C.