Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Happiness Brain Implant

Well, not exactly but pretty close. There is now a brain implant that can stimulate the "sadness center" in the brain and can remove severe depression. Can't wait for the 2.0 version of this that stimulates the happiness center of the brain.

From CBC News:

Deep electrical stimulation of the brain may help alleviate severe, chronic depression in patients who don't respond to other treatments, researchers in Ontario have found.

The experimental treatment consists of a pacemaker implanted under the collarbone, as well as electrodes in the brain.

When neurosurgeons applied an electrical stimulation to the electrodes, four of the six patients showed remarkable improvement in mood and sleep, the study's authors reported in this week's issue of the journal Neuron.

The researchers hypothesized that by targeting an area of the brain's sadness centre, they could treat depression. The technique has been used since the late 1990's to treat tremors in patients with Parkinson's disease.

The sadness centre, called Cg25, is thought to play a critical role in sadness and mood. People with depression may have too much activity in the part of the brain, scientists speculate.
I didn't know there was a sadness center in the brain. I am always skeptical of these brain regions due to the plasticity of the brain but you have to give the scientists their props if they were able to stimulate a region of the brain and alleviate depression.

More from The Seattle Times:
But today, two years after she agreed to take part in the landmark Canadian experiment, Harris could hardly be happier for the electrodes buried in her brain: two wires, nearly as thick as spaghetti and a foot long, pulsing 130 times a second to silence the negativity of her mind

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