Health Watch -- Depression Treatment: Nerve Stimulation

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This week on Health Watch, we're talking about treating depression. While there are effective ways to treat depression, from exercise to medication, there are some patients whose conditions resist treatment. For these patients, a new treatment called vagus nerve stimulation therapy may help.

With this treatment, a small device similar to a pacemaker stimulates a nerve to deliver pulses to the part of the brain that regulates moods. Dr. A. John Rush, a psychiatrist at UT Southwestern Medical Center who has led research on the treatment, says it has a good success rate, especially considering that it is most often used with patients who have highly resistant depression that hasn't responded to medication. This treatment may be used together with medication as a way of managing recurring or long-term depression.


May 2006

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