Researchers implanted pacemaker electrodes into the medial forebrain bundle of patients suffering from major depression and performed deep brain stimulation. In a matter of days, in six out of seven patients, symptoms such as anxiety, despondence, listlessness and joylessness had improved considerably.
Scientists have discovered a biological marker that may help to identify which depressed patients will respond to an experimental, rapid-acting antidepressant like ketamine. The brain signal, detectable by noninvasive imaging, also holds clues to the agent’s underlying mechanism, which are vital for drug development, say NIH researchers.
Why the Thrill is Gone: Scientists Identify Potential Target for Treating Major Symptom of Depression
Scientists have laid bare a novel molecular mechanism responsible for the major depression symptom, anhedonia, the loss of the ability to experience pleasure. The brain circuit involved in this newly elucidated pathway is largely identical between rodents and humans, upping the odds that the findings point toward new therapies for depression and other disorders. Additionally, opinion leaders hailed the study’s inventive methodology, saying it may offer a much sounder approach to testing new antidepressants.
Psychiatric disorders can be described on many levels, the most traditional of which are subjective descriptions of the experience of being depressed and the use of rating scales that quantify depressive symptoms. Over the past two decades, research has developed other strategies for describing the biological underpinnings of depression, including volumetric brain measurements using magnetic [...]