Saturday, May 3, 2014

DBS for Depression Studies
Map of 24 studies found by search of depression and "deep brain stimulation" -parkinson -anorexia -obsessive ...  from
16 of these are considered 'Open', as in either recruiting or about to be. (Map should be clickable, Click "Open" for just the open ones).

In the latest paper released with  Dr. Mayberg, Patricio Riva-Posse, MD, Emory assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences says "...results suggest that clinical outcome can be significantly influenced by optimally modulating the response network defined by tractography," [Um, that's a mouthful, but I'm going to translate in laymen: 'using the latest in neuro-imaging, there is a real good chance we can pinpoint exactly where the brain needs some stimulation']

(added... a shorter synopsis

Precise brain mapping can improve response to deep brain stimulation in depression

A new study using MRI analysis of the white matter connections examined the architecture of this network in patients who demonstrated significant response to SCC DBS. (Source: Emory Eniversity)
So what do these pretty pictures and map have to do with each other? Everything for the future of DBS and mental illness (not just Depression).  In the map above, I excluded anorexia, OCD et al.  (Not all studies will proceed and I am sure not all studies are listed).

So the race is on.  The German-Bonn (Nucleus Accumbens) studies look "rewarding" and are moving to the Americas (UT Houston), but Bonn is continuing to chart new frontiers; while Emory is "focusing" in on reliable mapping.  Although I haven't heard anything lately, I'm sure the Cleveland Clinic still has their "head" in the game. (Bad puns intended.)

Locations mentioned in clinical trials:
  • Nucleus Accumbens
  • Subcallosal Cingulate 
  • Internal Capsule 
  • Superolateral Branch of the Medial Forebrain Bundle (slMFB)
  • Ventral Caudate Nucleus
  • Inferior Thalamic Peduncle
The studies seem to be split between the 2 major medical stimulation device manufactures although I can find fewer results from the Medtronics group.  I am not a Doctor nor Neuropsychologist so these are layman's extrapolations/interpretations/translations.

Now for my usual optimistic but caveat emptor: anyone considering being involved in one of these MUST fully understand the potential risks.  Here is a YouTube video of a fellow Brodmann participant that describes his terrible experience related to the surgery and follow-up care.  However even he verbalizes optimism for the research towards the end at 14:10; calling for more oversight, not an end to the studies.  Good luck Steve, and thanks for trying to pioneer this forward.  I hope something can be done soon for both your pain and for the depression. [Stanford - wake up! In my opinion, your inability to rectify this situation is soiling your name, the study's name (which needs no extra soiling at this point), and the worst - possibly contaminating future studies. And yes, I have seen Stanford  IP addresses view my blog, so I'll know when you see this - same for you ANS].

And though I don't like to give advice, here is my 2 cents on my study's current dilemma via a suggestion I recently had:  Get the exact details, in writing, of what happens if the study is cancelled.  Will they continue to provide replacement units if your insurance won't?  The question is NOT what happens if the FDA doesn't approve it - although you need to ask that as well, but even if the FDA approves it and your insurance company won't pay for a replacement....