The Data Is In: Brain Implants Can Make You Happy

Illustration for article titled The Data Is In: Brain Implants Can Make You Happy

For over a decade researchers have been treating many different ailments, including depression, with electrodes lodged deep in the brain. Devices like this Soletra brain implant deliver electrical impulses to a targeted brain region, essentially creating artificial activity in an area that the brain won't activate on its own. While there have been anecdotal reports that brain implants can help people with depression or OCD, now there is solid proof. A long-range study being presented at the upcoming meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons demonstrates how patients, over a 10-year period with brain implants, gained increasing control over their moods and obsessive behaviors.


Medgadget has the news:

All of the studies being presented used the Medtronic DBS system to stimulate a target within the brain called the ventral anterior limb of the internal capsule/ventral striatum (VC/VS), which is a central node in the neural circuits that regulate mood and anxiety.

"The data we are presenting on 43 patients is the result of more than 10 years of work across multiple institutions worldwide. These data represent the largest number and the longest evaluation of patients with psychiatric disorders who have undergone DBS implants, including some with long-term follow up," said [Cleveland Clinic neurosurgeon] Dr. Ali Rezai, who represented an international working group of physicians studying DBS therapy for treatment resistant OCD and depression. "While OCD and depression treatment with DBS require additional clinical evaluation research, our early open-label experience to date is encouraging and indicates that DBS may help severely disabled and suffering patients who have exhausted other treatment options."

I know it sounds selfish of me when there are so many people who need these implants to feel better, but I'm still waiting for a brain implant that's designed for enhancement. Kind of like implanted Provigil or something. Or maybe an orgasm implant, instant orgasms to pass the time? I'm just saying.

Deep Brain Stimulation Useful for Severe Depression and OCD [Medgadget]


Annalee Newitz

@Klebert L. Hall: Sorry, the Oxford English Dictionary says data can be used as a singular noun. []