Depression may ease with brain stimulation and meds
ReutersUsing weak electrical currents passed into the brain through a headband may help relieve depression symptoms for some patients when combined with an antidepressant, according to a U.S. and Brazilian study.
February 8, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
Researchers writing in JAMA Psychiatry found that after six weeks of treatment with a combination of brain stimulation — known as transcranial direct current stimulation or tDCS — and sertraline, marketed as Zoloft, nearly two-thirds of depressed participants got significantly better.
“In major depressive disorder, the combination of transcranial direct current stimulation and sertraline increases the efficacy of each treatment,” wrote lead researcher Felipe Fregni from the Harvard Medical School.
For the study, Fregni and Brazilian colleagues randomly assigned 120 people in Brazil with moderate to severe depression to one of four treatments: brain stimulation and sertraline, brain stimulation and a placebo drug, sham stimulation and sertraline, or sham stimulation and a placebo.
Electrical current therapy was given for 30 minutes at a time over 12 total sessions.