sufijazz writes: "A story by Gregory Mone on the Popular Science website talks about trials to use deep brain stimulation to cure chronic depression. From the article:
Antidepressants may generate billions of dollars in revenue for pharmaceutical companies, but recent studies suggest that pills work only 50 percent of the time — and they don't do much at all for the millions like Hire who are severely depressed.So the alternative being tried is brain surgery whereby electrodes are lodged in the patient's brain and 2 Volts of electricity is passed. Why the pulses affect mood is still unclear, but scientists believe that they may facilitate chemical communication between brain cells, possibly by forcing ions through nerve fibers called axons. In turn, this may trigger the release of mood-regulating chemicals like serotonin and norepinephrine. Similar trials are being conducted in other places. Exact numbers are hard to ascertain, but it's estimated that fewer than 50 patients in North America are walking around with wires in their brain."