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Treating Depression With Electrodes Inside the Brain

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the still-waiting-on-a-tasp dept.

Biotech 237

cowtamer writes "CNN has a writeup on a method of treating depression with implanted electrodes. If this works, we may be seeing a lot more of this type of technology in the future. '[The patients] were lightly sedated when the holes were drilled and the electrodes implanted, but they were awake to describe what they experienced. Several patients reported profound changes just minutes after the stimulator was turned on. One said the room suddenly seemed brighter and colors were more intense. Another described heightened feelings of connectedness and a disappearance of the void.' While I haven't looked into any of the academic literature on this, it seems that yet another Larry Niven Prediction has come true!"

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Well, it's not ECT! (3, Insightful)

Auroch (1403671) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692219)

It'll be interesting when people start getting this surgery as a performance enhancing drug [discovery.com] .

Though, I worry about the "drive by" hackings [medgadget.com] .

Re:Well, it's not Black! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692231)

There are a few exceptional blacks that contribute and coexist peacefully with their neighborhoods. The rest of the blacks hate them and call them "uncle tom" because they're "acting white". Black males are about 6% of the population and commit over 50% of murders. They mostly murder other blacks but when they do murder whites Jesse Jackson is oddly quiet.

Most blacks have a "thug" or "gangsta" culture that glorifies violence, drug abuse, abuse of women, racism against whites, incarceration, an ignorant dialect of pidgin English, and the failure to assume paternal responsibility. It is a gutter culture of anti-achievement. The most idiotic of whites embrace it too, like the white kids from nuclear families who grew up in the suburbs and think they're hardass street gangbangers. If you pardon the vernacular they would shit their pants if they wound up in a real ghetto with real gangsters but that is not the point. The point is this gutter culture is not only toxic. It is contagious. It doesn't just infect urban blacks and impressionable white youth. It is the main reason that black-on-black crime happens at a much bigger rate than white-on-black crime during the Jim Crow era.

Most black males will have been incarcerated at least once by the time they are 30 years old. Blacks have a higher rate of obesity than whites or Asians or Hispanics. Their rate of children born out of wedlock (better known as bastards) is twice the rate for whites. They score lower than whites or Asians on IQ tests which makes Liberals come up with flimsy and poorly supported excuses, anything to avoid admitting a real inferiority. Despite blacks having been born and raised in the USA for many generations, they still do not speak proper English with no discernable"accent", something Asian immigrants do within 1-2 generations.

Almost all modern scientific discoveries were made by whites and Asians. Add up all the contributions to society blacks have made. And then subtract from that the costs of political correctness, welfare, affirmative action, lectures and seminars and 'sensitivity training' for diversity, crime including damage done to the victims and court costs and incarceration costs and law enforcement costs, the costs of bussing for black schoolchildren, the decline in property value of homes as black gangs move in, plus the constant media sensationalism about race and the money/energy wasted on it, and the election of Obama.

As a group blacks are a net drain on society. FACT!! It's been over 150 years since slavery guys. Time to be productive members of society.

P.S. The real insult is blacks scream for more and more because it's never enough for them instead of being grateful we put up with their net drain status. They are much better off here than they would be in Africa because black-goverened nations always fail horribly and that's just another FACT.

Re:Well, it's not Black! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692257)

Some people are racist a-holes. FACT!

Re:Well, it's not Black! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692301)

Some people are racist a-holes. FACT!

The truth isn't racist. Wanting blacks to drop the thug gangsta bullshit and become a positive influence on society isn't racist. Wanting our inner cities to be pleasant places to live without gang violence isn't racist. Wanting black males to stop committing such a high percentage of murders isn't racist. Wanting black men to step up to the plate and parent their black children because that's best for them isn't racist. Wanting blacks to stop hating their achievers and start admiring them as good examples isn't racist. Realizing that most real racism will go away if blacks stop topping the charts for crime, welfare, and bastard children isn't racist.

The most racist thing I can think of is the way Liberals humor them like dumb children and pretend like all of these things are okay, and the way they use the welfare system to get them dependent on government so they always vote Democrat for fear of losing benefits they should have never needed in the first place.

Re:Well, it's not Black! (0)

flyneye (84093) | more than 2 years ago | (#39693369)

Sorry , you have taken the wrong approach to the A.C. you replied to.
The appropriate would have been CITATION PLEASE! For all those statistics he peppered his post with.
Also a realization that those who hate are exemplifying a fear reaction, one takes down an obstacle like hate by dispelling fear.
Can you dispell Mr. A.C.s fear of a subculture of violent male negroes? If you do ,then your endeavor to take on what is mistaken for racism, successful, efficient, useful, rather than the usual kneejerk regurgitated bleat of RACIST! Talk about politically induced prejudice.
          We rely so much on poorly society-sourced scripts. We fail to remember that malicious code can be added by parts of society *cough,politics,cough* and one must reverse engineer the script to fix problems that OBVIOUSLY exasorbated ,rather than abated.
  Merely, stop and think.
Fix the cause, the symptom will disappear.
Replace the filter, the cylinder will receive enough oxygen for combustion to occur.

Oh and just a bit of compassion for those suffering fear.
We only hate what we fear. Hate only hurts the originator.
Go on, hate the troll as hard as you can, does he suffer from your hate?
Nope, only you.
Beginning to see my point?
Test my hypothesis.

Re:Well, it's not Black! (1)

Reez (65123) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692459)

What's with the current trolling wave on Slashdot? At least they could sign, like the GNAA did.

Re:Well, it's not Black! (1, Offtopic)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692823)

They're not even good trolls. Dr Bob, at least, got a lot of responses from people who thought he was serious. These trolls are so obvious that after reading half of the first sentence you know that the post will contain nothing of value. The only thing I can think of is that they're intended to make mods waste their mod points so that ones hoarded by shilling companies will be more likely to affect the relevant posts.

Re:Well, it's not ECT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692439)

It may not be ECT, but you have to try and fail with ECT before you can apply for this protocol. I am scheduled for it in a few months as part of an Emory trial.

Re:Well, it's not ECT! (0)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692781)

That sounds stupid and backwards to me. ECT seems more like scrambling the brain and hoping it comes back up less bad. That sort of treatment belongs in the dark ages.

Re:Well, it's not ECT! (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692831)

ECT: the medical profession's version of 'have you tried turning it off and on again?' Actually, this approach works well with some heart conditions too (remove the load on the heart for 24 hours and let it recover).

A great band-aid solution (5, Funny)

thatkid_2002 (1529917) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692221)

I need electrodes for depression like I need several holes drilled in my head.

Re:A great band-aid solution (2)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692237)

This is great. I'll be able avoid ECT.

Re:A great band-aid solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692255)

I need electrodes for depression like I need several holes drilled in my head.

Does that mean that lack of electrodes causes depression?

The Dalia Lama says that lack of affection causes depression. I know he's not a doctor and neither am I. But doesn't he have a point?

Re:A great band-aid solution (2)

Mr2cents (323101) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692729)

And lack of asperin causes headaches? Of course not, that doesn't justify your point. Depression can be caused by all sorts of factors. Throwing it all on one big pile and claiming that depression will go away with affection is a gross, naive oversimplification.

Re:A great band-aid solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692737)

Does that mean that lack of electrodes causes depression?

Lack of stimulation of the pleasure center of the brain causes depression.

Re:A great band-aid solution (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692783)

Respectfully I think the Dalai Lama may have confused cause and effect. Lack if affection is considered a symptom of depression isn't it?

Re:A great band-aid solution (2, Insightful)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692259)

A band-aid solution? After that comment, I'll presume that you aren't a depression sufferer of 40 years and multiple failed suicide attempts.

Re:A great band-aid solution (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692293)

A band-aid solution? After that comment, I'll presume that you aren't a depression sufferer of 40 years and multiple failed suicide attempts.

Well, let's be honest. It would only take one successful attempt and you wouldn't have 40 years of depression.

Re:A great band-aid solution (4, Insightful)

nbritton (823086) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692963)

A band-aid solution? After that comment, I'll presume that you aren't a depression sufferer of 40 years and multiple failed suicide attempts.

Well, let's be honest. It would only take one successful attempt and you wouldn't have 40 years of depression.

As someone afflicted with bipolar disorder, I got a nice chuckle out of that comment. It's true, suicide is very easy if you don't care about having an open casket or being in pain before you pass. I don't think anyone ever actually wants to die though, in my experience it's a means to an end. Going through these turbulent states is literally hellish torture; one resorts to suicide as a way to end that. I'd hazard to guess that I have PTSD just from that torture, and the act of trying to kill yourself is just as traumatizing. Gabbing a shank into your vain so you can bleed out to end the torture is not something most people will ever experience or relate with. I cried for hours because I thought I was never going to see my family or friends again, and the burden I would cause them in the aftermath; the pain was too much to bare though. In retrospect, I'm thankful that the nurse made rounds sooner than expected, because Lithium was able to calm the storm a few days after that. I had not been on Lithium prior to that, I have to say it's a truly remarkable drug... err.. element.

Re:A great band-aid solution (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692341)

Yeah, you never finish anything you start.

Re:A great band-aid solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692471)

Yeah, you never finish anything you start.

Damn, that's fucked up.

It made me laugh. It was in fact hilarious.

But that's ate up.

Re:A great band-aid solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692375)

Everybody needs something. For you, that'll be perforations with HotGrit electrode set, and one NataliePortman Hole.

Re:A great band-aid solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692399)

It's a strange and expensive way to replicate stimulation achieved by natural substances.

Re:A great band-aid solution (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692801)

Unfortunately those natural substances have serious side effects.

Re:A great band-aid solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692939)

Depends on the substance....

Re:A great band-aid solution (2)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692419)

well, the description is that supposedly it's like being on shrooms 24/7 only enjoying the positive benefits.

so.. really. why the fuck not? seems much like better solution than getting your brains scrambled with a stick.

Re:A great band-aid solution (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#39693129)

Depression is relatively easy to cure short-term, drugs, electrodes, vacation, sky-diving, whatever. The trick is staying non-depressed when you feel trapped and unable to fix your perceived problems.

There's an old joke about why ECT wears off after 6 months... it takes that long for the patient to remember just how bad their life sucks.

Re:A great band-aid solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692583)

Why does this seem like a scene from Jackass?

Sci Fi has done this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692233)

Wasn't this the plot of some Michael Cricton novel? I remember reading it in grade school. He goes nuts and kills everybody.

Re:Sci Fi has done this... (3, Informative)

dak664 (1992350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692239)

Re:Sci Fi has done this... (1)

cellocgw (617879) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692563)

And in the other direction as well -- The Sirens of Titan.
There are lots of stories with direct brain-stimulation hooks (so to speak). All the same, I'll let Caol Ila brighten my days :-)

Re:Sci Fi has done this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692243)

Terminal Man.

Sounds nice. (2)

Av8rjoker (1212804) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692319)

I'd love to try this. Unfortunately I'm an American and don't have health insurance. I'm sure the VA (my only "provider") probably won't get it for a long time.

Re:Sounds nice. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692389)

Why don't you have insurance? I am an American and I do. And as a taxpayer I am paying for your insurance too if you are with the VA.

Re:Sounds nice. (3, Insightful)

Av8rjoker (1212804) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692625)

That's great that you have a wonderful job that provides affordable insurance. I can't afford insurance and even if I could, the inseurance available to me won't cover my pre-existing conditions. By the way, I'm a tax payer too.

Re:Sounds nice. (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692401)

SInce this procedure is still in the experimental stage very few people will get it for a long time. Meanwhile I suggest you ask to be screened for depression [va.gov] , the VA does treat it.

Re:Sounds nice. (1)

Av8rjoker (1212804) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692937)

Yeah, I do understand that it is experimental, but unfortunately the VA is very..... very slow to accept new treatments well after they are released to the general public. I have been hospitalized there for depression a few times (in fact I have to report there on Monday), so they are well aware of my conditions. I do appreciate your advice though.

Re:Sounds nice. (4, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692507)

Who needs health insurance? You need:

  • A car battery
  • Two ice picks
  • Jumper cables
  • A Black & Decker
  • A bottle of Jack Daniels as anesthetic

Home cures are best.

Re:Sounds nice. (3, Informative)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692551)

No no, ice picks and hammers are used for lobotomies [howstuffworks.com]

Re:Sounds nice. (1)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692881)

It's still experimental, you may be able to get in as a study patient.

Re:Sounds nice. (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692899)

Have you considered paying for it in cash? You know, like you'd buy a car or a house or almost anything else in your life?

Re:Sounds nice. (1)

Av8rjoker (1212804) | more than 2 years ago | (#39693025)

Yes, most people buy cars and houses with cash. Are you a drug dealer?

Re:Sounds nice. (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#39693171)

Fortunately, I'm American, I pay for health insurance, and I appreciate that the insurance industry doesn't just lay out $30K for everyone who "wants to try something." Actually, I think they do far too much reimbursement for expensive, unnecessary tests and procedures already.

I'm all for full coverage of appropriate treatments, but in the realm of depression treatment (and many others) there are a lot of very expensive treatments that should be saved until less invasive, less expensive things have been tried. See also: VNS [cyberonics.com] .

Old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692321)

This idea and preliminary research have been around for a decade!
Also, for most people depression should be treated by changing their life, not taking more painkillers.

"Sorry, I was powered down." (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692347)

The new all-purpose excuse.

In addition to people crossing the street while yakking in their phones, college kids texting while walking, and crazed bicyclists weaving through city traffic while sipping Red Bull, we might have to start dodging people standing on the sidewalk saying, "Charging.... charging... charging...."

It's been done. (5, Funny)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692379)

I can't be the only person who remembers Stimpy's Happy Helmet.

Re:It's been done. (1)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692497)

It is not I who am crazy.

Re:It's been done. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692633)

It is not I who am crazy.

Crazy people never admit they're crazy, because they think they're sane. People with enough insight to know that the things they do are crazy would imply that their only slightly off their rocker.

Re:It's been done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692879)

We come from a long line of crazy organisms. We certainly didn't descend from the creatures that went "What's the point? I give up!" and died/suicided soon after.

Mixed feelings (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692409)

On the one hand, I have long suffered from depression that resists all treatment. Some days, it is literally a fight to want to live just for that day, and the only thing that keeps me from suicide is the knowledge that my friends (the few I have) and family (who have mostly rejected me altogether at this point) would blame themselves. I don't think many people understand just how devastating Depression can be -- it can literally take away everything you value in life. The worst part is the blame: the attitude that, if you just "wanted" to be different, you would be. If this treatment could actually cure my depression, I would have to "go for it".

On the other hand, I remember reading Terminal Man by Michael Chrichton, in which a similar technique was used to treat Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. The subject grew addicted to the stimulation from the computer, and literally turned into a homicidal maniac.

Re:Mixed feelings (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692513)

On another hand, you're a whiny bitch.

Re:Mixed feelings (1, Troll)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | more than 2 years ago | (#39693215)

On the other hand, you qualify as a scoiopath.

Stop living in denial and get some help.

Re:Mixed feelings (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692527)

He already was a maniac. The shocks would simply "shut down" the homicidal thoughts.

Unfortunately, during the surgery the doctor off handedly decided to put the electrode on a pleasure center figuring that the subject may as well be rewarded while being cured. Too bad the reverse happened - every time he thought about killing he was given a jolt to the pleasure center training him to think about killing even more. The jolts shut down the urge, but eventually he reached a point that he was being continually stimulated in a pleasure center while thinking about killing... and since he was already being jolted there was nothing to stop him from acting on his desires.

Carnage ensues.

Re:Mixed feelings (1)

durrr (1316311) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692829)

Stimulation addiction are not just fiction. It happened with some women that were given the controls and were allowed selfstimulation.

The obvious solution is to either stimulates areas that will saturate immideatly and not gain further pleasure as stimulation is cranked up. Or simply precalibrate the device for automatic operation.

Re:Mixed feelings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692911)

Instead of having your head drilled into, tdcs has much of the same effect and is easy enough to be done at home without frequent visits to the hospital. In over ten years of research, nobody has turned into a homicidal maniac (yet).

Re:Mixed feelings (2)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692943)

This is your (real) life. Don't even give a moment's thought to some sci-fi author's brainfart. That's just fiction.

Re:Mixed feelings (1)

YttriumOxide (837412) | more than 2 years ago | (#39693023)

On the one hand, I have long suffered from depression that resists all treatment. Some days, it is literally a fight to want to live just for that day, and the only thing that keeps me from suicide is the knowledge that my friends (the few I have) and family (who have mostly rejected me altogether at this point) would blame themselves. I don't think many people understand just how devastating Depression can be -- it can literally take away everything you value in life. The worst part is the blame: the attitude that, if you just "wanted" to be different, you would be. If this treatment could actually cure my depression, I would have to "go for it".

Have you tried recreational drug use? Specifically, hallucinogens? From my understanding of TFA, it sounds not dissimilar to the effects of low dose LSD, mescaline or psilocybin.
I've also heard positive things about higher dose LSD use for depression, but that may require a bit more guidance and direction along with it.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and I am a relatively outspoken advocate of LSD and therefore can be considered to be strongly biased. However I hope that doesn't deter you from independent investigation of my suggestion.

Re:Mixed feelings (1)

rock_climbing_guy (630276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39693035)

I've been there, too.

You may have heard this already, but in case you haven't, here are some things to might want to have checked by LabCorp (or whichever laboratory you get your blood tests done thru)

(1) CD57 (Google Lyme Disease). This measures a specific subset of white blood cells that is suspected to be supressed by some chronic illnesses.
(2) check your testosterone levels, free and total, sex hormone binding globulin, luteinizing hormone, and estrogens. When these things are out of whack, you can feel like crap.

There is a lot of information out there. I hope this might be helpful to you.

New treatment for resistant depression..that works (5, Informative)

DaneM (810927) | more than 2 years ago | (#39693213)

I'd probably write this in a private message, but since you've (understandably) posted as anonymous, and since others might benefit from this information, I'll post it openly. Private messages are welcome, should someone wish to contact me.

Before I continue, though, I have to ask something: I hope that those who read this will respect just how debilitatingly painful clinical depression (i.e. based on bad brain chemistry) is, and also how sensitive a topic it is, both to those who have it, and to those who don't understand it, and treat depressed people like garbage as a result. Truly, I can't imagine a more excruciating torture than having one's own brain be in constant, unbearable pain (in severe cases like mine, it goes beyond depression, into an intangible agony of the mind; and also manifests as severe, measurable physical symptoms). I honestly can't bring myself to wish such torment on any person or creature--no matter how evil. It can and does literally drive people insane, and in the face of this, I have a knowledgeable respect for those who decide that it's simply not worth living through any more such torture; those who haven't been tormented in such an ungodly way (yes, I do mean to imply theological conflict) can't even begin to understand the topic of depressive suicide, so I encourage you not to comment on it; simple kindness would be much more believable and meaningful. (I'm writing now about a possible solution, so please wait on such thoughts if you're having them.) I ask that any replies to this be respectful and not flippant/humorous. Thanks.

I've recently found an unconventional treatment that has helped my severe depression (featuring suicidal ideation), after having thought (for good reason) that nothing was going to work. First, so that you can better determine if this is something worth looking into, I'll give you an abbreviated list of things I've tried, without success. In almost every case, the medicines and treatments worked after about a month of use, then stopped working, then made my depression worse than it otherwise would have been. Notably, I also suffer from anxiety, physical pain (muscles, joints, skin), and ADD (among others). The most sensible diagnosis I've gotten is fibromyalgia, and it's reached a disabling state. (Of course, fibromyalgia is largely used as a diagnosis that really means "we have no idea what's causing all this.") Here's a list of failures, and example name brands (what DOES work is below them):

Tri-cyclic anti-depressants (Amitriptyline/Tryptomer)
SSRIs (Prozac)
Benzodiazepines (Xanax) (for anxiety)
(Atypical) antipsychotics (Abilify) (in conjunction with other meds, to enhance them)
Anticonvulsants (Lamotrigine/Lamictal) (for enhancing effects, as above)
Lithium (used to treat [type 2] bipolar disorder and mood swings)
SNRIs (Cymbalta)
NRIs (Strattera) (for ADD, and as an enhancer)
NDRIs (Bupropion/Wellbutrin) (for ADD, and as an antidepressant, and as an enhancer)
Amphetamines (Adderal; this was exceptionally bad, especially in conjunction with Wellbutrin; it caused a psychotic panic attack) (for ADD and chronic fatigue)
Azapirones (Buspirone) (for anxiety)
Electro-convulsive therapy (A.K.A. ECT)

The treatment that I finally discovered, and convinced my doctor to do some research on (i.e. look up as much info as possible) involves increasing the amount of glutamate in the brain--which is now thought to be a more "direct" influence on depression than seratonin, etc.--at least in the "tough" cases. This was discovered as a result of some doctors noticing the use of the street drug, Ketamine, for self-treatment of depression. (Ketamine has some serious/dangerous side effects, of course.) During trials, it was discovered that Ketamine (pain reliever), as well as Riluzole (used to treat Lou Gehrig's disease) and Scopolamine (for motion sickness and surgical nausea) were extremely effective in treating those with severe, "tough" cases of depression. Of the three, Scopolamine (as a transdermal patch) is the safest, but Riluzole isn't terribly bad. The kicker, though, is that these took effect almost immediately, rather than requiring the usual, agonizing 1-month+ wait to even find out if they'll do anything at all (or make things worse). Each of these medicines took effect in under 3 days!

I'm now using Scopolamine, and while it's very expensive, my doctor was able to convince Medi-Cal to fund it for this use. I suspect that other insurance companies/agencies would at least let you apply for "prior authorization" or its equivalent. So, I can now get this medicine at a rate I can afford, and it makes my life seem worth living again. I'm getting back into music composition (and teaching music theory), philosophical and creative writing, guitar playing (having abandoning it after about 15 years of study and playing, due to depression), designing an RPG system and setting, learning electronic theory, etc. In short, it's letting me finally get back to doing many of the things that I've always wanted to do. The Scololamine patches seem to only come in one dose, and it's not quite enough for my symptoms, but they take more than half of the depression and other pain away, so it's very much "worth it." It's a "night and day" change, really. They do cause some bad dry mouth (which irritates my asthma), but chewing gum can fix that pretty well.

While it's not fully helpful enough for me to be able to function normally in society, I can now feel like life is actually worth living, and not just an endless stream of meaningless pain and suffering. It's made me want to live and do things, again. So, though it's very unlikely I'll be able to manage a regular job or similar responsibility in the foreseeable future (mainly due to problems with feeling good enough to work, reliably), I'm now able to do some volunteer work in writing, music, etc. that makes me feel more like a person who belongs in this world. I hope that if you're having "stubborn" depressive symptoms, such a treatment can help you (whomever reads this, as well as the parent poster), too. Just make sure to seek out a doctor (or physician's assistant) who's willing to look into non-standard treatments, should you give him/her such information as above.

Reference: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/01/31/146096540/i-wanted-to-live-new-depression-drugs-offer-hope-for-toughest-cases [npr.org]
(I'd post this as a /. article, but it's a bit old.)

Depression is normal (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692429)

Why depression is a disease? It's a natural state that signals something. Maybe one should find and change the cause of this state of mind. Ah, I forgot, we are all productive, happy robots.

Re:Depression is normal (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | more than 2 years ago | (#39693411)

The kind of depression we're talking about here is anything but "normal".

If you've not experienced it yourself, you should express your gratitude for that in some other way than being all snarky.

Your condescension is neither helpful nor welcome.

Now kindly STFU.

*Facepalms* (4, Interesting)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692461)

Me thinks they are missing the point.

Aside from genetic tendencies, depression is typically a form of feedback from your environment not being 'right' for you. And I am not talking about ecosystems here.

So, while it is a scientific triumph (huzzah!) to find a temporary way to get around depression by sticking a wire in your brain, it's not one we should readily consider. Instead, we should focus on a more permanent solution, that of removing people from environments that would necessitate putting an electrode in their brains.

On a separate note, I am surprised at the number of psychs / etc. who prescribe pills in preference to telling their patients that they need to quit their job / move somewhere else. Sometimes the solution isn't a bunch of SSRIs, it's moving to another state (across country), or quitting an abusive job.

There's more than one kind of despression (5, Informative)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692529)

There is rational depression (i.e. caused by obvious external circumstances) and depression with no rational cause. Among well known sufferers from the latter are Stephen Fry, Dr. Samuel Johnson and Winston Churchill. It has recently been argued that the reason this kind of depression does not get removed by natural selection is that it has protective value for the community; depressives seem to be good at thinking about the negatives and so are more likely to predict threats and outcomes (Churchill being an obvious case.)

As an obvious example, Roosevelt took Stalin more or less at face value whereas Churchill was (quite rightly) deeply suspicious of him.

If you take a non-rational depressive and move him or her to another job on the far side of the country, you will now have a rational depressive feeling even worse off because everything is new and unfamiliar. That is likely actually to increase suicide risk.

Re:There's more than one kind of despression (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39693071)

Scientific studies, researchers and clinicians do not divide depression into "rational" and "un-rational" depression. All depression is irrational -- by its very definition. If there's a cause for the depression, it is usually diagnosed as an adjustment disorder first. Clinical depression has little reason, just like most mental disorders.

You don't call people with cancer, "cancerives" or "cancerites," so why would you call people with depression 'depressives'?? That's just reinforcing the prejudice and stigma against people with a mental illness.

--
Psych Central
http://psychcentral.com/ [psychcentral.com]

Re:*Facepalms* (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692719)

depression is typically a form of feedback from your environment not being 'right' for you.

Sure, and retarding the timing to avoid detonation is "right" for your engine, but if it's misdetecting detonation because of a faulty CPS then it's only going to cause you to lose power. See what I did there?

Re:*Facepalms* (1)

durrr (1316311) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692951)

Quitting jobs and moving across the country may be valid for 18 year old extroverts that feel lost in life and have a excessively padded bank account to fall back on and no real responsibilities to haunt them. For anyone else. Not so much.

Lifestyle adjustments are a lot more relevant, but the compliance for such adjustments are very low, even more so in depressed people that may feel very weak drives to do things.

Pharmaceuticals are very easy to administer, thus they are used a lot, they do however leave a lot to be desired. Transcranial magnetic stimulation is probably a good candidate for replacement, being noninvasive and capable of pretty much instant improvements. But due to being new technology it's reserved as a last ditch effort for resistant cases.

Not Niven... Michael Crichton (0)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692493)

The Terminal Man. 1972. Read it.

Re:Not Niven... Michael Crichton (1)

BorelHendrake (1496471) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692545)


Larry Niven as well. Ringworld Engineers. 1980.

Re:Not Niven... Michael Crichton (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692947)

Well, true, as long as we are counting blatantly plagiarized concepts.

Re:Not Niven... Michael Crichton (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692901)

Olds and Milner [wikipedia.org] demonstrated (not fictionalized) direct electrical stimulation of rats' emotions in the early 1950s.

Sounds like a psychedelic experience (4, Interesting)

Brian Feldman (350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692503)

Yet without any of the customary safety we come to expect by using natural compounds! Where can I sign up to have my head drilled into rather than trusting the wisdom of the ancients?!

Re:Sounds like a psychedelic experience (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692875)

The ancients, way back to the cave days, drilled holes for medical purposes...

Re:Sounds like a psychedelic experience (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692955)

Experimental procedure is experimental.

Abrupt video end at 01:36? (1)

Tore S B (711705) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692511)

Am I the only one for whom the video abruptly ends about a minute and a half in?

trode (1)

issicus (2031176) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692517)

im ready hook me up. the matrix will give me everything i need.

The Web is My Doctor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692533)

Well, why not? After all, it has porn.. why can't it solve all other problems in life too?

http://depressioncomix.tumblr.com/ [tumblr.com]

I'm quite happy with my solution... (3, Interesting)

Aphrika (756248) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692565)

...going for a walk [bbc.co.uk] . A good walk works wonders and is a little less extreme than electrodes in the brain. That said, my depression was a side effect of a long term illness and the walking may have had other health benefits that improved my mindset.

That said, walking might not be a great idea if you'd lost your job, sold your car, etc. etc...

Re:I'm quite happy with my solution... (4, Informative)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692807)

It's important to note that the patients discussed had severe depression which resisted other forms of treatment:

She tried a variety of treatments, including talk therapy and psychiatric medicines, but nothing worked.

St. Jude is hoping to win Food and Drug Administration approval for commercial use of DBS for treatment-resistant depression.

The summary and title could be taken to imply (incorrectly) that this treatment is aimed at depressed people in general. It's still brain surgery, you need an implanted battery, and it doesn't work on all patients.

Re:I'm quite happy with my solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692851)

That said, walking might not be a great idea if you'd lost your job, sold your car, etc. etc...

I dunno, sounds pretty practical if you've sold your car.

Removal Cerebral white matter (1)

jordantwo (2618311) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692601)

leucotomy

Cool (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692607)

Wireheads on the horizon.

Darwin at work.

Yawn (1)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692647)

Nothing new. Read about it on a French science magazine from the late '70s. Allez chier sur votre figure vous-mêmes, je n'ai pas de temps à gaspiller.

Effects (3, Funny)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692741)

One said the room suddenly seemed brighter and colors were more intense. Another described heightened feelings of connectedness and a disappearance of the void

LSD is cheaper, and you don't need any extra holes in your head.

Re:Effects (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692835)

As long as you don't mind not being able to gtell further what you are seeing, hearing and feeling is real.

Re:Effects (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39693009)

That only occurs at 'heroic dose' levels, generally you remember that you've taken a substance which modifies your normal sensory input and are aware you're experiencing things differently than normal.

Your mind makes it real...The body cannot live without the mind.

The shocks will continue until morale improves! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692749)

Happy yet?

No?

ZZZZZAPPP!

Electromagnetism (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692763)

Tho more bulky, the same results could be gained from electromagnets positioned properly to create small induced currents in various parts of the brain, and be non invasive.

Bender "Jacking On" (1)

skywatcher2501 (1608209) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692765)

They got the idea from Futurama?

Re:Bender "Jacking On" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692923)

Larry Niven's references to "wireheads" far predate the first appearance of Bender.

The depression will be right back (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692777)

as soon as they try to pass an airport security checkpoint...

*If* it works? Saw it on TV years ago... (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692793)

And it's remarkable to see. I haven't been able to find a clip on YouTube or similar, but the patient concerned was happily smiling and talking to the camera about how her implant had changed her life (as I recall, this was less than a day since the operation). As part of testing, they then switched off the implant - her face instantly fell and you could almost see the life drain out of her (I recall her saying "I don't like this at all" which, if you could see her face, was a massive understatement).

One of the most incredible things I've ever seen, really.

Niven's euphoria/depression concept oversimplified (3, Interesting)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692821)

Like many of the more readable writers, certain concepts were simplified. The "droud" in Niven's books stimulated pleasure centers. Doing this is different than relieving depression. Admittedly, the brains wiring isn't following such neat little concepts, but conceptually, relieving depression so you can feel normal is very different than seeking pleasure for its own sake.

Maybe this will help someone (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692837)

I've been suffering multi-year-long treatment-resistant and very disabling depression, fatigue and concentration problems. In my case the best thing I've done was really simple: changed diet (cut off all the sugar, coffee and baked goods, introduced more salo (lard?), raw vegetables, and supplemented with vitamin c) and done some exercise (but not too much). No meds ever helped me with recovery, and believe me - I've tried enough.
I'd recommend it especially to those who are skinny and who also suffer from digestive trouble like severe tiredness after eating bread (but not diagnosed with celiac disease).

Application for psychopaths? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692889)

I wonder how this device might affect those who cannot feel a 'normal' range of emotion. No therapy has been very effective, but perhaps this device could be.

Translations of experiences...? (-1, Flamebait)

LongearedBat (1665481) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692907)

Several patients reported profound changes just minutes after the stimulator was turned on.

Electrifying!!!

One said the room suddenly seemed brighter and colors were more intense.

Everything looks like neon lights.

Another described heightened feelings of connectedness

Wow... So many other humans in the Matrix.

and a disappearance of the void.'

That tunnel of light seems to lead to something greater...

Re:Translations of experiences...? (2)

LongearedBat (1665481) | more than 2 years ago | (#39693001)

Poor attempts at humour aside...

This is very interesting. A good friend of mine left her loving husband and two children, to then commit suicide. That sort of deep unhappiness affects more than just the clinically depressed. It can affect all their family and friends in drastic ways.

If there's a way to make life liveable, then good. Hope more advancements are made.

Tough choice -- trepanning or... (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692919)

Or you could just supplement your diet with B-complex vitamins. Sometimes the simpler method really is best.

Extra Perception? (2)

axlr8or (889713) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692933)

And now you can imagine. You'll be tuning in radio stations just by thinking about it. Solar storms will either make you feel like crap or really wake you up. Insurance companies will increase your rates because your now far more likely to be struck by lightning. You won't need a wireless presence indicator anymore, your friends will just ask you to home in on one. When the TSA scans you, the agents will call you a skull bomber. But, on the bright side, my hopes the wold will become a simile for 'Johnny Mnemonic' are closer.

Dangerous (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 2 years ago | (#39693343)

That actually sounds rather dangerous! What happens if the electrode malfunctions? Instead of treating depression, why don't we look for what causes it and an organic cure for it? I am not a big fan of symptom mitigation. Could it be the chemicals in our food? Could it be air pollution reducing the amount of oxygen getting to our brains?

Oblig Blade Runner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39693427)

He sighed, defeated by her threat. "I'll dial what's on my schedule for today." Examining the schedule for January 3, 1992, he saw that a businesslike professional attitude was called for. "If I dial by schedule," he said warily, "will you agree to also?" He waited, canny enough not to commit himself until his wife had agreed to follow suit.

        "My schedule for today lists a six-hour self-accusatory depression," Iran said.

        "What? Why did you schedule that?" It defeated the whole purpose of the mood organ. "I didn't even know you could set it for that," he said gloomily.

        "I was sitting here one afternoon," Iran said, "and naturally I had tamed on Buster Friendly and His Friendly Friends and he was talking about a big news item he's about to break and then that awful commercial came on, the one I hate; you know, for Mountibank Lead Codpieces. And so for a minute I shut off the sound. And I heard the building, this building; I heard the — " She gestured.

        "Empty apartments," Rick said. Sometimes he heard them at night when he was supposed to be asleep. And yet, for this day and age a one-half occupied conapt building rated high in the scheme of population density; out in what had been before the war the suburbs one could find buildings entirely empty . . . or so he had heard. He had let the information remain secondhand; like most people he did not care to experience it directly.

        "At that moment," Iran said, "when I had the TV sound off, I was in a 382 mood; I had just dialed it. So although I heard the emptiness intellectually, I didn't feel it. My first reaction consisted of being grateful that we could afford a Penfield mood organ. But then I read how unhealthy it was, sensing the absence of life, not just in this building but everywhere, and not reacting — do you see? I guess you don't. But that used to be considered a sign of mental illness; they called it 'absence of appropriate affect.' So I left the TV sound off and I sat down at my mood organ and I experimented. And I finally found a setting for despair." Her dark, pert face showed satisfaction, as if she had achieved something of worth. "So I put it on my schedule for twice a month; I think that's a reasonable amount of time to feel hopeless about everything, about staying here on Earth after everybody who's small has emigrated, don't you think?"

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