Electric patch 'fights depression'

19 June 2012

Scientists have possibly made a breakthrough in the treatment of depression with the development of a special electric patch.

The team of researchers at the University of California Los Angeles produced the device as a way of sending electrical impulses directly into the head to stimulate the trigeminal nerve.

It is believed that this nerve is a channel to other parts of the brain that govern and regulate people's mood.

The patch, which is being described as a "USB port" that links to the brain, has been found to result in positive changes.

In an experiment as part of the study, it was discovered that participants suffering with severe depression who wore the patch reported a 50 per cent reduction in symptoms.

"One of the patients on the original epilepsy trial said his epilepsy symptoms hadn't improved but his wife told us he was more alert and more communicative," commented Dr Christopher DeGiorgio, professor of neurology at the University of California Los Angeles school of medicine, who also helped develop the device.

"Although he hadn't been diagnosed with depression, he had previously been melancholy, and mood disorders are very common in people with epilepsy."

Posted by Edward Bartel

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