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Deep Brain Stimulation as Depression Treatment

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the there's-something-wrong-with-my-brain dept.

Medicine 273

Neopallium writes "Medtronic, today announced its intentions to pursue a major clinical trial of the company's deep brain stimulation (DBS) technology in the treatment of severe and intractable depression, a disabling form of the psychiatric disorder affecting millions of people worldwide. "While not a cure, DBS has allowed these patients to return to much more functional and happy lives," said Dr. Rezai, who represented an international working group of physicians that has been studying the application of DBS therapy in the treatment of intractable depression and OCD in collaboration with Medtronic."

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Uh... so in other words (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15210248)

Stimpy has finally finished building his Happy Helmet?

Re:Uh... so in other words (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210612)

You know that's actually a euphimism, right?

hmmmm (-1, Offtopic)

0racle (667029) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210249)

That sounds kinda kinky.

Re:hmmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15210636)

and 50 years ago they were doing brain surgery for this ...

Stimulating (4, Funny)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210251)

Now if I could just get some Deep Brain Coffee into me...

Re:Stimulating (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15210292)

Deep brain stimulation has been proven effective in treating Parkinson's patients.

Interestingly, the caffeine dose equivalent to about 5 (five) cups of coffee per day has been shown to be effective in preventing Parkinson's.

Re:Stimulating (1)

moro_666 (414422) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210871)

5 of my cups of coffee will kill you before parkinson get's a chance to "shake things", so you're right.


Obligatory on the issue and slashdot:
I'd tell you the chances of this story being a dupe, but you wouldn't like it.
Oh, i feel so depressed.

(from the world famous 'linux n00bs guide to the internet')

Re:Stimulating (4, Funny)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210361)

I wish it was as simple as that. It would sure beat what I have to do now, which is sprinkle a layer of espresso-grind coffee into my shoes, score the bottoms of my feet with a razor blade, and then tie my shoelaces really tight, so as not to leave a trail of blood after me.

I think for what you're proposing, you'd need to attach some sort of reservoir for hot water on top of ones head, with a french press type plunger to force the caffeine past the blood/brain barrier [washington.edu] .

Unexpected side-effects (4, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210255)

This could have some rather unexpected negative side-effects. For example, Lincoln was prone to depression - if he had been less melancholic, perhaps he wouldn't have spent so much time brooding over the negative consequences of slavery to the union. Similarly, this could spell the end to a lot of literature ...

How depressing ...

Re:Unexpected side-effects (5, Funny)

0racle (667029) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210288)

How depressing ...
They can fix that now.

Re:Unexpected side-effects (4, Funny)

The Creator (4611) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210736)

They can fix that now.

How depressing...

Re:Unexpected side-effects (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15210302)

Depression is normal. However reoccurring bouts of depression lasting long periods of time which remove your ability to function in everyday life is not normal. That is the difference. Lincoln might have been depressed but he could still function with some normalcy. These people can't.

Re:Unexpected side-effects (3, Interesting)

ectospasm (5186) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210318)

You've got to remember that this will probably be used (at least at first) as an alternative treatment of major depression for when traditional (chemical) treatments do not work. It will most likely be used when the illness is debilitating, where the sufferer cannot function. Creating works of art (or performing any task which requires intense concentration) in a depressed state implies that there's a modicum of function. I know of people that cannot even put a single sentence together when they're most depressed.

As someone with bipolar disorder, I welcome any further additions to the repertoire of weapons we have against serious depression. I just hope no one in the trials commits suicide, a common occurrance of people who are just beginning to have their depression lifted.

Re:Unexpected side-effects (4, Insightful)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210591)

I just hope no one in the trials commits suicide, a common occurrance of people who are just beginning to have their depression lifted.

That's an interesting turn of events. You feel too depressed to do anything, then you start to come out of it. You still feel really down, but have the motivation to not want to feel like that anymore... yet can't imagine a lasting brighter future without coming back down again.

So what's the obvious solution when you don't want to live that way, and don't believe you have an alternative? You make a choice to stop living. It seems very reasonable at the time (been close a few times myself).

Re:Unexpected side-effects (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15210629)

For crying out loud, call a crisis hotline or a friend next time you feel like harming yourself. You're no good to us unless you're here alive and well.

Re:Unexpected side-effects (3, Insightful)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210663)


Is there some kind of well-rounded, adequately-functioning, happy-with-life mediocre model that we all should be striving towards becoming?

I'd like to know what that ideal is and who defines it.

Sure, there *are* rambling homeless people, depressed people and confused people out there, but hasn't this always been the case? Or is the general consensus that it happens more often now and needs treatment?

I've known quite a few people that might be considered "a bit off", but as long as they are not hurting others, where's the harm in treating them as eccentrics or oddballs and just accepting them for how they are? Or does everyone have to "fit in" these days? Honest questions.

Re:Unexpected side-effects (1)

Orgazmus (761208) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210847)

Or does everyone have to "fit in" these days?
Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated.
Heh.

Look at todays youth, and their clothing and music taste. Its much more diverse than 60-70 years ago.

I've known quite a few people that might be considered "a bit off", but as long as they are not hurting others, where's the harm in treating them as eccentrics or oddballs and just accepting them for how they are?
The problem is when they start hurting themselves. As long as the chance of making their lives a bit better exists, it would be wrong not to try. Of course they must be willing to accept the help at some point. You cant force anyone to better themselves.
I too have had problems with anxiety and depression, but i always snap out of it after a period of time. Not all of us are that lucky, and need help.
For some people, suicide seems like the only way out. If we can show them another path, I really think we should.

Re:Unexpected side-effects (1)

PrivateDonut (802017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210855)

Wow! Relax dude. They aren't talking about 'fixing' people... they are talking about curing the worst of the worst. The people who simply cannot function. "in the treatment of severe and intractable depression, a disabling form of the psychiatric disorder"

Re:Unexpected side-effects (2, Interesting)

Masa (74401) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210872)

I've known quite a few people that might be considered "a bit off", but as long as they are not hurting others, where's the harm in treating them as eccentrics or oddballs and just accepting them for how they are? Or does everyone have to "fit in" these days?

These kind or treatments are not usually designed for curing oddities or eccentric behaviour. Well, not at least at the present time and civilized societies. Not so long time ago things were different. Anyway, these treatments are for helping people with depression, which cannot be handled with therapy or medication. ECT is another choice, and while it seems to be effective (and it actually is, if done properly and using enough medical background studies) but we do need more subtle and more accurate methods for helping these cases.

Funny that you say "as long as they are not hurting others", well, hopefully these kind of studies are able to save depressed people who are trying to hurt themselves. For my opinion, suicide is not a proper treatment for severe depression.

Anyway, I can see your point, but I think that no one is trying to create any kind of sunny smily-face happy-happy-joy-joy society. There certainly is a model that is strived towards, but it is used for these seriously depressed people that cannot function properly. And this is only because there has to be some sort of measurement for "normal" so we can tell, when the treatment is going to the right direction (unfortunately, some times patient his/herself cannot be a reliable source for this kind of information).

Re:Unexpected side-effects (4, Insightful)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210873)

Sure, there *are* rambling homeless people, depressed people and confused people out there, but hasn't this always been the case? Or is the general consensus that it happens more often now and needs treatment?

Your ignorance about the suffering of the mentally ill is quite charming. You might as well as, "Why don't the clinically depressed just cheer up?" Someone undergoing a major and debilitating depression isn't "a bit off" nor are they merely eccentric oddballs.

I'm sorry if this is a bit harsh; I believe you are sincere and that your questions, as you say, are honest. However, if you are honestly curious about mental illness, you might want to get a college textbook on abnormal psychology and read up on it. You are not going to get much light shone on your ignorance in the comments section of slashdot.

Re:Unexpected side-effects (1)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210583)

I read an interesting theory somewhere that depression is just a manifestation of problems with current society, and that by attempting to treat it as an illness all we're doing is papering over the cracks, so to speak, and masking those problems.

Just a theory, but thought it had some relevance to your post.

Re:Unexpected side-effects (1, Insightful)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210773)


I read an interesting theory somewhere that depression is just a manifestation of problems with current society, and that by attempting to treat it as an illness all we're doing is papering over the cracks, so to speak, and masking those problems.

I think that that is a very valid theory, if not actually true. It fits well with many posters here (never before have so many been able to communicate with so many others without being judged by their appearance or feeling peer pressure). As a result, many people that post here don't give a shit about outside pressures to conform, they just write what they think. Of course, I typically read at +5 and most comments at that level are at the least thought-provoking if not enlightening.

I saw an interview with Zeldman (Amber from G4, Canada) and the guy came across as a total dork, definitely not TV-pretty. But the guy is brilliant tech-wise. Some would put him down or attack him for being different.

Show me a fragile mind and I'd be able to do some real damage to it if I felt the need to tear someone else down in order to build myself up. That's typically what cowards do.

I'm a father and I know damn well that you treat everyone with respect. It's not even a religious thing, it just makes sense to do so.

On the other hand, some people (almost always males) are insecure, and crapping on others tends to be a learned behaviour. Read whatever psychology you want into that.

Re:Unexpected side-effects (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210868)

On the other hand, some people (almost always males) are insecure, and crapping on others tends to be a learned behaviour

I take it you have never spent some time in a group with lots of girls...

Re:Unexpected side-effects (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210895)

Certainly the modern world, our dystopian society, is a major part of all this. But I don't know that a chronically, clinically depressed person would want to wait for society to get fixed as a means of addressing their suffering. At the same time, however, perhaps it would be wise for such a person to at least partially disengage from the more corrosive aspects modern civilization (as we know it).

I have a friend who contends that the reason that everyone isn't depressed is because they're all delusional. =)

Re:Unexpected side-effects (1)

d'alz (959455) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210818)

i agree, there is a risk factor involved in this. More over, not all depression is completely curable. People prone to getting depressed could very well take these drugs and cure their current dilemma. But it could just give birth to another in some time. Then we will not only have a half cured depressed person but also a strain of reasons leading to depression in the same person. Gosh thats riskin one person going through a little too much depression don't you think?

Re:Unexpected side-effects (1)

adolfojp (730818) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210850)

Depression should never be confused with melancholy or sadness. In fact, some people describe depression as the complete lack of an emotional response.

Concern, passion, and a troubled soul can embark you on a quest for change. Crossing the line into depression will only help cripple your chances.

Saying that you are depressed when you what you feel is sadness is like calling evolution "just a theory". Both evolution and depression are very specific scientific terms that have a completely different colloquial meaning.

Slashdot Account (0, Offtopic)

JonathanR (852748) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210259)

Isn't this just a subsidised Slashdot account?

It would work for me (4, Funny)

Mrs. Grundy (680212) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210279)

Well...if my brain is where my wife says it is, I can see this working quite well.

Re:It would work for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15210458)

Up your ass?

Too late.. (2, Funny)

MrPsycho (939714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210283)

I though Paramount already has the rights to the Mind Meld technique.

Science? (1)

e5z8652 (528912) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210286)

I think spamassassin has been deleting all the e-mails I get about investing in this company - good thing /. let me see the "related quotes" graph!

The war on drugs...and solenoids. (1)

OGmofo (189475) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210290)


It will be fascinating to see what lengths society is willing to go to prohibit individuals from indulging in effortless reward. I can't wait to see copper wire on schedule I.

I also can't help but wonder if the war on drugs hasn't essentially shot society in the foot. By restraining self-destructive phenotypes, we have accumulated more in the population than we might have were the most dedicated allowed to pursue their end. Now along comes an unstoppable, uncontrollable form of cheap unlimited bliss and how many more are going to fall?

Re:The war on drugs...and solenoids. (4, Informative)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210394)

Larry Niven and Spider Robinson both explored the social aspects of this subject pretty thoroughly in SF literature. Ringworld Engineers comes to mind, when Louis Wu undergoes a euphoria/depression addiction cycle to a "TASP" (presumably an acronym for There Ain't Such Pleasure, a variation on TANJ used as an expletive throught his books) and a "DROUD" (no idea as to word origin).

Spider Robinson may have derived his stories from Niven's originals -- legitimately, I believe, as the "wirehead" meme now seems to be as much a part of SF as FTL has been since the Golden Age. Spider wrote it into "Lifeship" and one other short story involving deprogramming of a wirehead. (/soapbox)

Re:The war on drugs...and solenoids. (1)

RM6f9 (825298) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210495)

A fellow Robinson fan! Wireheading's dangers are really well known, and I hope they find a more certainly effective treatment for essential tremors sometime in the next two decades: that's my personal limit...

Re:The war on drugs...and solenoids. (1)

Xaositecte (897197) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210861)

Mmm, I remember them well - I believe you're thinking of Mindkiller as the other Spider Robinson book dealing with Wireheads..

He may have done even more than that - all in all excellent reads.

Nothing new here (2, Insightful)

abscissa (136568) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210293)

Before modding me down, look into it for yourself... it has been known for a very long time that in the most severe cases of clinical depression, shock therapy is an extremely effective treatement, although it tends to conjure inhumane images in one's head.

Re:Nothing new here (1)

Bowling Moses (591924) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210350)

Electoconvulsive therapy's been used for a long time for treating a variety of mental problems, including depression. This shouldn't have some of the negatives--a friend of mine had ECT done about 15 years back as a last-ditch treatment for severe depression and as a result has a six-month gap in her memory. Plus, the aim of ECT (according to almighty wikipedia) is to induce a grand mal seizure for about a minute. This is definitely not what deep brain stimulation's doing!

Re:Nothing new here (2, Insightful)

Naomi_the_butterfly (707218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210405)

DBT != ECT

Re:Nothing new here (1)

Heir Of The Mess (939658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210508)

Maybe you should point out the differences as the article doesn't really state how they do deep brain stimulation. They do use electricity in the stimulation, and therefore I think it would be valid to call it a refinement of electro-shock therapy (which has the effect of dimming a person's intelligence a bit).

DBS uses a surgically inserted probe that rests deep in the brain, and stimulates the deep brain section by use of electriciy. It isn't a large shock type action though, but rather the person carries a battery pack and only a small charge is released through the probe, but on a continuous basis.

Re:Nothing new here (1)

kitkatsavvy (921998) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210513)

wanna bet!!! how do you know that its a damn efficient method! how can zapping volts upon volts of electricity to your head be effective! they dont even know what areas to zap - it is used as a last resort - there isnt any proof that it makes anything better! why dont you go and get some ECT treatment and see if it works IDIOT!

Finally! (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210306)

I can get my very own droud.

I'm so excited.

Re:Finally! (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210859)

I can get my very own droud.

Check it with a (micro) amp meter first or you might wind up like Owen Jennison.

Obligatory Dilbert Quote (2, Interesting)

Unlikely_Hero (900172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210324)

Well, the fact that the government is trying to restrict a technology to make people feel euphoric reminds me of a great dilbert quote from a general sent to destroy dilbert's happiness formula.

"You're just allowed to /pursue/ happiness, you're not actually allowed to /be/ happy"

Re:Obligatory Dilbert Quote (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210347)

I'm more afraid that the governments of the world will learn to like the technology... if everyone can be happy just via stimulation of certain parts of brain, no-one will ever oppose the government...

Tinfoil helmet off, happy helmet on...

Re:Obligatory Dilbert Quote (1)

mattkinabrewmindspri (538862) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210436)

But if everyone is happy, does it really matter?

Re:Obligatory Dilbert Quote (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210540)

I'm more afraid that the governments of the world will learn to like the technology... if everyone can be happy just via stimulation of certain parts of brain, no-one will ever oppose the government...

No the government will ban this technology as "many women and young girls, as well as young men of respectable family, were being induced to visit the Chinese [Deep Brain Stimulation] dens, where they were ruined morally and otherwise"

Re:Obligatory Dilbert Quote (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210646)

That doesn't sound like government.

That sounds like the Church.

Re:Obligatory Dilbert Quote (1)

rtz (221437) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210897)

In the current political climate in the US, what's the difference?

Re:Obligatory Dilbert Quote (2, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210688)

And being ruined morally by lots of Chinese women is bad how?

Slashdot Stories do Product Placement (-1, Offtopic)

RedHatLinux (453603) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210334)

Come on, this is a blatant ad. How can you miss it? Here, if you're going to make a habit of it, plug my stuff [blogspot.com] . It's a lot more interesting.

Re:Slashdot Stories do Product Placement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15210455)

It's a lot more interesting
It isn't. It's just preconditioned short-sighted babling. Only few blogs are worth the time. NOT yours.

OCD is the worst (1)

Cybert8 (968584) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210337)

As one who has been depressed, the OCD is the one that just doesn't go away. Anything they might have for OCD makes me want to volunteer. Well, plus I want to be a cyborg.

Re:OCD is the worst (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210499)

With these something-else-plus-depression cases, the depression is always just icing on the cake.

Re:OCD is the worst (1)

da.phreak (820640) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210827)

Deep Brain stimulation can also be used to treat OCD. It's still being researched, but there are first tests on human patients. It seems to work quite good. It can also be used to treat Parkinson in late stages.

Great, now what is it? (2, Interesting)

Nirvelli (851945) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210343)

What actually is "Deep Brain Stimulation"?

Re:Great, now what is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15210359)

It's like an electro-shock implant http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_brain_stimulatio n [wikipedia.org]

Re:Great, now what is it? (1)

da.phreak (820640) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210834)

Electo-shock is an exaggeration I think. Electric stimulation maybe is more adequate. Basically a hole is drilled into your had and an electrode is inserted. Using MRI it is navigated to an exact location in your head (chosen depending on your mental disorder). The electrode is connected to an electrical "pacemaker" that sends specific electric pulses into your brain.

There are a few loose ends.... (3, Informative)

70Bang (805280) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210391)



1. Reading the story and the paper doesn't tell you what Deep Brain Stimulation actually is. What'd you think? Phoebe Buffet was going to climb on and reach deep into your skull and start the massage?

Fortunately, someone put good wiki material for those of you who didn't already know what it is. To save you the reading, it's a "pacemaker" in your brain.

2. Shock treatment (as in for the loonies) has been making a comeback for the previous decade or so as an attempt to rebalance those who are severely depressed or those who are Bipolor (or Manic-Depressive) but spend more time on the down side than the up side.

3. Regardless of the treatment, many seriously believe "fixing" this, particularly the down or depressed side will decrease or neutralize the creative side of those who are exceptionally creative. I know many friends who are careful about the medications they take and insist upon some trial & error not just on the effectiveness axis, but the suppression of creativity. If the latter is lost or decreased, they'd rather do without medication (with or without their physican's knowledge).

4. If this sounds familiar to you or you think it's a good idea for a book, think of it as a first cousin to one of Ray Bradbury's (existing) books.


Re:There are a few loose ends.... (5, Informative)

Cicero382 (913621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210529)

Right! The glib tone of this post annoys me; I can't let it go by without comment.

Before I start, both I and my wife suffer from chronic depression (and I'm bipolar). We both lead perfectly normal and happy lives - thanks to medication. So I know what I'm talking about.

> 2. Shock treatment (as in for the loonies)

Oh, thank you very much! I haven't had this, but my wife was so desparate that she did. I can't say whether it cured her (I suspect the medication has much more to do with it), but I *can* say that it is a brutal approach. I refused because I was afraid that it would damage my mind (which is a very good one - polymath). It tore her mind to bits! For months after the sessions she was confused, had massive memory loss (and those memories are gone for good) and suffered - possibly more than the depression itself. I think that one could compare it to resetting a computer by throwing a bucket of water over it. Quite possibly, its only effect is to press RESET on the brain and let it rebuild from there.

> but spend more time on the down side

Actually, the "up" side is even worse. You can do serious damage to yourself and those around you, mentally, spiritually, financially and even physically. At least when you're "down" you tend to stay put. Not that it's much fun.

> 3. Regardless of the treatment, many seriously believe "fixing" this, particularly the down or
> depressed side will decrease or neutralize the creative side of those who are exceptionally
> creative.

There is something in this, but it misses the point. People who want to mitigate the effects of the medication for any reason don't have *severe* depression. If you do, you will do ANYTHING to make it stop... and I mean *ANYTHING*. Why do you think sufferers kill themselves? In a way, I'm lucky because my disease started at an early age and built to a crescendo by the time I was 30. If I (or, I suspect, anyone) suffered the full effects in one go I would have looked for the very first way to kill myself - immediately.

I do suffer some performance hit from the medication, but it's worth it. I once tried to get a boost for an important problem by stopping my medication. Never again!

If you're a sufferer, don't worry about this. It really is fairly minimal and, as I said, very well worth it. Look at it this way; if you don't have to spend most of your mental energy fighting it, you're more productive anyway and much happier as well. In the course of my treatment, they concentrated on mitigating the symptoms, then hunting round for the correct drug and dosage for everyday life. It works very well.

Finally, don't be ashamed. I know that there's a lot of stigma attached to depression and OCD but were you ashamed when you had a cold? Of course not! And it's the same thing - a disease. And it can be treated. If you have it, get help NOW! There is no need to suffer. It will take time and patience, but it can work.

And, finally, finally: Remember you're not alone. Many others know how you feel (me, for example) and love and understanding can go a *long* way (soppy, but true). Where do you think my wife and I met? Yup - the loony bin (*I* am allowed to say it :) 15 years now (happy sigh).

Re:There are a few loose ends.... (3, Interesting)

Czar the Bizarre (841811) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210801)

Just have to let everyone know, I also met my partner in the 'Psych Ward' of a local hospital.

It certainly helps when you have someone around who understands why you feel the way you do at times. Although, the reverse is also true if you both forget to take your meds at the same time.... hehe, nasty.

Anyways, she has just given birth to our first child together (its a girl).

Hopefully, she wont suffer the same problems as her parents, but if she does... well hopefully we have the understanding to help her overcome some of the issues, or at least support her during the harder times.

I'm depressed... (1)

Null Nihils (965047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210402)

I'm depressed because I'm worried that Net Neutrality will be destroyed and the Internet will--
*BRZZZZT*

Ooooh. Everything's fine! Nothing to worry about...
Except it's a little depressing that the Bush Administration is--
*BRZZZZT*

Huh. I forgot what I was worried about... now I just feel kind of warm and fuzzy and content...

If (2, Funny)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210403)

If [pinkfloydonline.com]
from Atom Heart Mother

If I were to sleep
I could dream
If I were afraid
I could hide
If I go insane
Please don't put your wires in my brain

Irony of post time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15210406)

When 60 Minutes's Mike Wallace came out about his depression, he did so on a late night talk program. His rationale was that it was usually people with depression who were up that late.

And here's a story, about depression, posted at 1:35 in the morning, and comments coming in even now, more than an hour later.

I recognize the double irony of someone pointing this out at 2:40 AM... but I'm up because uhh... my neighbors loud music... which depresses me... doh.

Re:Irony of post time (1)

ebrandsberg (75344) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210420)

You do realize that the world doesn't live in one timezone right...? And as I write this I'm in the same timezone, yet helping someone 7 hours ahead via IM on a tech issue. Sigh.

The Original Clockwork Orange (5, Interesting)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210415)

Anthony Burgess, author of the book "A Clockwork Orange" was the artist in residence while I was in the undergraduate program at the Iowa City Writer's Workshop [uiowa.edu] back in 1974. I think he based his book on the work of Jose M.R. Delgado, M.D. published under the book with the damn spooky title: "Physical Control of the Mind: Toward a Psychocivilized Society [amazon.com] ".

I managed to get a copy of the book finally, and discovered wonderful passages such as the following on page 115:

ESB [electrical stimulation of the brain -- JAB] may evoke more elaborate responses. For example, in one of our patients, electrical stimulation of the rostral part of the internal capsule produced head turning and slow displacement of the body to either side with a well-oriented and apparently normal sequence, as if the patient were looking for something. This stimulation was repeated six times on two different days with comparable results. The interesting fact was that the patient considered the evoked activity spontaneous and always offered a reasonable explanation for it. When asked, "What are you doing?" the answers were, "I am looking for my slippers," "I heard a noise," "I am restless," and "I was looking under the bed." In this case it was difficult to ascertain whether the stimulation had evoked a movement which the patient tried to justify, or if an hallucination had been elicited which subsequently induced the patient to move and to explore the surroundings.

This passage is eerily reminiscent of a passage from Richard Dawkins' "The Extended Phenotype [amazon.com] " chapter titled "Host Phenotypes of Parasite Genes":

"Many fascinating examples of parasites manipulating the behavior of their hosts can be given. For nematomorph larvae, who need to break out of their insect hosts and get into water where they live as adults, '...a major difficulty in the parasite's life is the return to water. It is, therefore, of particular interest that the parasite appears to affect the behavior of its host, and "encourages" it to return to water. The mechanism by which this is achieved is obscure, but there are sufficient isolated reports to certify that the parasite does influence its host, and often suicidally for the host... One of the more dramatic reports describes an infected bee flying over a pool and, when about six feet over it, diving straight into the water. Immediately on impact the gordian worm burst out and swam into the water, the maimed bee being left to die' (Croll 1966)."

Acute vs. chronic therapy. (1)

aschoff_nodule (890870) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210428)

It has been known for a long time now that sleep deprivation helps drastically improve patients with severe depression. However, if the patient is not already on antidepressant drugs, he will relapse back into depression - http://apt.rcpsych.org/cgi/content/full/7/2/117 [rcpsych.org]

This has been true to some extent with electroconvulsive therapy too. People with severe depression become normal for a few days, but they ultimately need antidepressants.

I wonder whether deep brain stimulation can solve this issue of long term pharmacotherapy, or will it be just one of those overhyped discoveries, which is no better than the existing tools we have?

Quirks and Quarks (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15210450)

This has been featured in an episode of Quirks and Quarks (a radio show/podcast) last January. Click on the link for details [www.cbc.ca] .

possible spam (5, Funny)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210451)

Dear Sir,

Our records indicate that you had been modded as Troll continuously for last 6 months on slashdot. We understand how depressing this can be.

We can offer you Deep Brain Stmulation to fix the depression and additional free package of Dumb Brain Simulation, to get +5Funny.

Warm regards

Marvin says: (1)

maddu (522722) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210464)

Oh..it will never work on me - Marvin.

And for MS customers (1)

packetmill (955023) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210467)

we are proud to present:

VERY deep brain stimulation to treat..never mind.

MDT (1)

BBBBTT1 (971168) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210475)

What a hot stock, buy MDT today!

Existing technology (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210479)

Deep Brain Stimulation
This technique is old [wikipedia.org] :P

Marvin Says? (1)

saden1 (581102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210490)

1.

Marvin: I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed.
Trillian: Well, we have something that may take your mind off it.
Marvin: It won't work, I have an exceptionally large mind.
Trillian: Yeah, we know.

2.

Marvin: I got very bored and depressed, so I went and plugged myself into [the ship]'s external computer feed. I talked to the computer at great length, and explained my view of the universe to it."
Ford: And what happened?
Marvin: It committed suicide.

3.

Marvin: The first ten million years were the worst. The second ten million? They were the worst too. The third ten million I didn't enjoy at all. After that I went into a bit of a decline.

Re:Marvin Says? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210875)

Marvin was plugged directly into the central intelligence core of the Krikkit war computer. Marvin wasn't enjoying the experience and neither was the central intelligence core of the Krikkit war computer.

ECT 2.0 (0, Redundant)

altan (519377) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210512)

Because there was no actual description of DBS in the article, I looked it up: Deep brain stimulation involves putting the tip of a hair-thin wire down inside the brain in a special area that controls movement. The wire then runs up through a small hole in the skull and under the scalp down to a little device implanted under the collarbone. The device, called a neurostimulator, sends tiny electrical impulses down the wire into the brain. The person can turn the DBS on when needed, and turn it off during sleep (when tremors are less).

This sounds an awful lot like electroconvulsive therapy [wikipedia.org] which doesn't seem to be taken that seriously anymore.

Re:ECT 2.0 (0, Redundant)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210885)

This sounds an awful lot like electroconvulsive therapy

It sounds a lot like The Terminal Man [wikipedia.org] to me

Placebo (2, Interesting)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210516)

While I can certainly empathise with those suffering depression (I've been on medication for years) I cannot help but wondering whether the positive benefits of any treatment could be attributed to the placebo effect. I am not saying this out of any disrespect or lack of understanding for the plight of the depressed but, rather, because I know that (for me) depression can be helped just by someone caring. By giving a treatment - any kind of treatment - there is an implied sense of care. Therefore, a reasonable hypothesis may be that any "treatment" may be effective.

There are obviously people around who do not respond to any kind of treatment, and I sincerely hope that this new treatment can help them find some relief.

Re:Placebo (1)

DiscoOnTheSide (544139) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210569)

Psychologists are well aware of this sort of effect, that's why double-blind experiments are usually pretty revealing in their outcomes. Neither those directly performing the treatment or those receiving it are aware if they're taking the real deal or the placebo. Of course this is lumped in with all the other experiments they do, but in my limited (psych undergrad) experience, the double blinds were usually the most revealing.

I'm a safety guru!!! (-1, Offtopic)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210519)

I did the quiz with 8 of 8 the first time:

YOU GOT 8 OF 8 QUESTIONS CORRECT
Rating: Safety Guru

You laugh in the face of spyware and adware. Your practically clairvoyant knowledge of the Web allows you to distinguish between safe sites and those that pose potential danger. (We suspect that you may also know which soda machines might steal your money before you drop a quarter.) Our hats off to you.

Now we step into the propaganda:

Remember that even one misstep can put your PC at risk, so SiteAdvisor's free software can help you always stay safe and in control online.

On the right side of my "you got 8 of 8 correct" note, there was another note saying:

Even the savviest expert can use a little help sometimes.

Download the free SiteAdvisor plug-in today and be warned of spyware attacks, online scams, and sites that spam you as you search and browse the Web.
Download SiteAdvisor for Firefox

Would you prefer IE or a different browser?


So basically you can't really win this quiz, even if you get everything right, you're being brainwashed that "one misstep and you're out". What this is, is one elaborate PR campaign of SiteAdvisor, and not a test in the least.

Not to suspect any bias on my side, I actually have SiteAdvisor installed on Firefox here (my default browser) for the last 5-6 months and it's not bad, but this is really low of McAffee, are they so desparate?

By the way, how I guessed the questions right (if someone cares...):

***SPOILER WARNING***

- I know eMule has no adware, I know Kazaa has adware
- A nice design doesn't mean free of spyware, but often spyware sites lack a lot of relevant and meaningful information about what is offered (exception: really high grade ones, like Kazaa)
- If a site offers all sorts of free downloads, like DVD burning, games, screensavers, you gotta be suspicious, a specialized site with a community section and apparently done by people who are involved in the matter being presented (rather than just list downloads) is less suspicious
- If a site offers no forums, contact info, feedback etc., you gotta be suspicious
- If a site tries to sell a product it's less likely they'll actually turn you off by installing adware in the trial version, but that alone can't be enough, so look for a community section with forums etc.

Re:I'm a safety guru!!! (4, Funny)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210547)

Sorry replied to a wrong article, I'm recovering from a shock therapy.

Stab me brain matey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15210534)

Great!
 
Now when I go for shock treatment I don't have to deal with the sticky electrodes anymore.
 
They can just stab a fork into my head and shock me the 'Deep Brain' way...

Primal Therapy is a cure for depression. (1, Interesting)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210535)

Primal Therapy [wikipedia.org] is a cure for depression. However, it's a lot of work, and most people are looking for an externally administered way out.

It's possible to read the book [amazon.com] and do what it says. But that is very scary and only someone with a strong sense of logic is able to guide himself or herself.

Re:Primal Therapy is a cure for depression. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15210587)

From the wiki:
 
... curling up in a fetal position, and sometimes even screaming - in order to express childhood, perinatal and prenatal feelings.

PRENATAL feelings?

The absence of peer-reviewed outcome studies to substantiate this claim led to the therapy falling out of favor in academic and psychotherapeutic circles. However, much recent research, especially regarding brain functioning (neuroscience) is consistent with the Primal hypothesis, ...

Do you or does anyone have any links to the research in question?

Press Release Science (1)

corgi (549186) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210539)

In best /. tradition...

new york times mag on the subject (1)

bibido (971172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210557)

This closely related and hopeful New York Times Magazine article [nytimes.com] came out a couple of weeks ago. You need to subscribe (for free) to read it though.

i've tried this before. (1)

dartarrow (930250) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210571)

Except we called it 'pot'

Thank fucking God... if it works. (2, Interesting)

TheNoxx (412624) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210610)

I don't know how many slashdotters are familiar with people who've been treated for the more extreme side of clinical depression (I myself suffered from psychotic depression, a little more into the deep end, and will have to be rather vigilant on my mental state to keep from spiralling into it again), but if this works it will be a godsend.

Most anti-depressants have really, really bad side affects; prozac is by far the best, but it seems to muffle several higher brain functions... not completely silenjce, but more than enough to be noticeable and very frustrating. Zoloft is the fucking devil and is extremely habit forming, not to mention that it destroys your liver and your immune system. Trying to quit Zoloft cold turkey is like trying to do the same with hard drugs, many people become very, very sick and suffer bowel and stomach problems for days. Zoloft can also cause those feelings in people for the entire duration of their medication; I was one of those people. I couldn't get up in the morning when taking Zoloft and not throw up at least once, and feel like I'd contracted anemia for the whole day. One of my dearest friends was medicated with Zoloft (at twice my dosage, which is ridiculous) for OCD and depression; needless to say, her liver has been annihilated. Even after a year of having stopped taking Zoloft, she maintains an acute weakness to food poisoning and alcohol, which was not present beforehand. Watching her try and quit Zoloft was like watching a train wreck. I've heard similar things with other forms of depression medication, but Prozac and Zoloft are the only ones I've been medicated with, and rather heavily.

Re:Thank fucking God... if it works. (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210650)

Most anti-depressants have really, really bad side affects

I'd love to see substantiation for that claim. It is true that "older-style" drugs had very bad side-effects in many patients, but I've seen no studies concluding that "modern" SSRIs or other modern pharmaceutical treatments have serious side effects in the majority of people. "Serotonin Syndrome" (a possible side effect of SSRI treatment) is by anybodies definition serious, but is usually brought on by drug interactions (incl. "speed", LSD, MAOI anti-depressants etc).

prozac is by far the best, but it seems to muffle several higher brain functions.

Again, I'd love to be proven ignorant and see your substantiatian for this claim... point me to a study.

One of my dearest friends was medicated with Zoloft (at twice my dosage, which is ridiculous) for OCD and depression; needless to say, her liver has been annihilated

I sympathise with your friend but, again, this does not prove anything...

Even after a year of having stopped taking Zoloft, she maintains an acute weakness to food poisoning and alcohol

I am not a doctor, but I would say the anybody with liver damage should avoid alcohol... again, this doesn't prove much except her liver is damaged and needs nurturing.

Watching her try and quit Zoloft was like watching a train wreck. I've heard similar things with other forms of depression medication, but Prozac and Zoloft are the only ones I've been medicated with, and rather heavily

Yes, this is obvious; The body "adjusts" (homeostatis) to the "new body state (with the drugs)" and compensates. When the drug is ceased, the homeostasis effects will still occur and the body will over-compensate, expecting it's normal does of the drug.. this is not unique to anti-depressants.

Re:Thank fucking God... if it works. (1)

giafly (926567) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210726)

Psychotria - You seem to be unaware of Google: prozac side effects [google.co.uk] .

From the first result: "Prozac is associated with insomnia, restlessness, nausea, and tension headaches, which normally go away within one to two weeks from the time it was first taken. One possible Prozac side effect, which remains for the time it is taken, is its effect on your sex life. It often reduces desire and can delay or interfere with orgasm, in both women and men. Fatigue and memory loss are other possible problems. These side effects subside when you stop taking the drug."

Sounds like "muffling several higher brain functions" to me. Also there is a scary list of other side effects.

Re:Thank fucking God... if it works. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15210821)

You really shouldn't pick apart people's personal experiences as if you know more about the subject than someone who actually experienced it.

I had my own bad experiences with Prozac and Effexor. Both made me feel out of control of my life. Both made me irritable, and say really mean things about my friends and family and then wonder why I did it. I was completely out of control, like a permanent belligerence.

Prozac increased my sex drive. Effexor increased it for a few days, then decreased it full-time and made me not want to even be close to my girlfriend. Not even on the same couch or the same bed. Not emotionally intimate either. Devastated my relationship with her.

It's not my desire to focus on this stuff anymore, but many of the SSRIs have been linked to suicidal and homicidal teens. Some sites suggest that some tests of the drugs actually increased the rate of suicide. Not the tests that got the drugs approved and made the psychotropic drug industry huge though, of course.

Take my anecdotal experiences for what they're worth. But don't try to prove someone wrong or treat them like they're lying just for sharing theirs.

Cure to Depression. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15210632)

Quite brooding you emo faggot and cheer up. You aren't getting any pussy? Figure out why and change it. Your life sucks? Grow some balls, take a chance, and make it better. If it doesn't work the first time, try again. Don't give up until you're dead or your life is better. You don't want it that badly? Then quit complaining.

Happiness is not cheap. You can pay premium for fake happiness and buy drugs, or you can suck it up and put a moderate investment of effort into fixing what is making you unhappy.

Depression isn't a disease, it's a symptom of failure. Instead of brooding about your failures, think about how to avoid them in the future and follow through.

You wouldn't last two minutes in my world! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15210649)



   

This is bullshit... if you heed firsthand exp... (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210662)

The first recourse for these people is "medicate you beyond belief" no matter what they say. After all, this article mentions "Based in part on promising (based on paid-for study-results,) study results presented this week at an international neurosurgical meeting, (We presented potentially false information about) Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE:MDT), announcing its intentions to pursue a major clinical trial (with or without the FDA's approval {like that even counts,}) of the company's deep brain stimulation (DBS) (mind-potenatially inhibiting) technology in the treatment of severe and intractable depression, (just like we did with shock therapy,) a disabling form of the psychiatric disorder affecting millions of people worldwide."

In other words, we're going to severely disable the natural random chance theory that Pascal provided, the same law that should supposedly protect us within the scope of our law, just to protect our businesses, even though it's to some degree proven that Pascal's law is correct in this matter. Yea, right. How about the US GOV'T stops reling upon idiots w/o college degrees (like me, yes I admit I have no college degree,) and lay the smackdown upon idiots that have no real scientific basis for their discoveries? After all, just like the KGB follows - the less information the populace has, the better to control the populace.

Zombie Psychiatrists (1)

realitybath1 (837263) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210664)

DBI (Deep Brain Ingestion) is a 100% cure for depression, although it unfortunately requires that your psychiatrist be a zombie.

An added bonus is that zychiatrists charge very low hourly rates.

side effect (1)

drfrog (145882) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210677)

we still dont know enough about how electronic device such as DEs and dream machines effect our brains...some sy they can be on par with drugs

see the trajectories magazine by robert anton wilson

there is lots of healthy debate on this subject in there

It's true what they say (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210691)

You need a frontal lobotomy, I need a bottle in front of me.

Doesn't get any more "deep stimulation" than that my friends.

Better than sex? (1)

scotbot (906561) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210703)

Isn't Deep Brain Stimulation normally called sex. I mean, wouldn't getting laid more often have the same de-stressing, depression-relieving effect. Oh wait, this is /. and the comparison is probably lost on many readers. Ach, never mind ...

Spin Doctors? (2, Interesting)

rsbroad (847149) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210749)

The original Spin Doctor would strap the patient down in a Barber's chair, and have a nurse spin the patient around and around.
This was touted as a miracle cure for many psyciatric ailments.

Ice baths.
Frontal lobotomy.
Electric shock through the brain.
Psychiatric drugs.

Now a pager with a shock prod installed in the brain.

Isn't this the kind of stuff Evil Scientists(tm) do to their victims?

Demystifying depression (3, Informative)

Cultural Sublimation (884893) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210761)

On the subject of burnout and depression, you might also want to check a wikibook on the subject: Demystifying Depression [wikibooks.org] . It takes a very mechanicist view on the problem, but the advice therein contained might be of help to those suffering from depression (it helped me, your mileage may vary of course).

In short, try not to think as depression as something simply psychological, but as a physical illness caused by chronic abuse of the brain. Giving it a chance to rest is the first step towards recovery.

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