tech2 News StaffDec 01, 2018 17:32:42 IST
Giving small, pulsing shocks to a specific part of the human brain can almost instantly lift their moods and remove signs of depression, a new study in patients of epilepsy has found.
The study involving 25 patients suffering seizures from epilepsy, who reported feeling instantly better when stimulated electrically in an area just above the eyes.
The part of the brain involved was deep under the skin, and the stimulation required better physical access to the region researchers thought would produce the effect.
All 25 people in the study were undergoing brain surgery to treat epilepsy and had multiple monitors observing different regions of their brains to track down the source of their seizures, NPR reported.
The brain region discovered to cause these changes, the lateral orbitofrontal cortex, has been theorized to have a like to depression for many years.
The stimulation in the study lasted only a few minutes, and the positive effect it had was evident to the researchers in many of the 25 patients.
The researchers even ran placebo stimulations to ensure it wasn’t a psychosomatic effect.
While the treatment evidently gave the study’s subjects a transient, perky mood lift, it isn’t a feasible standalone procedure to treat depression. Not only is it highly-invasive, but the improved moods were also only transient, making it impractical too.
While the new research doesn’t offer a big leap in the field of neuroscience or psychiatry, it does pave the way for more studies to take a closer look at what appears to be the brain’s ‘happy place’ for some common psychological conditions like anxiety and depression.
The study's findings were published in Current Biology reports Thursday.
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