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Brain stimulation holds potential for treatment-resistant depression

Brain stimulation holds potential for treatment-resistant depression

With depression, life itself becomes a Herculean effort. Its smothering weight can transform even simple tasks—like getting dressed or making lunch—into seemingly impossible feats, draining happiness from the present and hope from the future.

While therapy and medication have helped millions of patients with depression and other debilitating mental illnesses recover, some suffer from particularly severe cases that defy existing treatments.

With seed funding from the Anne and Don Fizer Foundation, Jair C. Soares, MD, PhD, and his team are exploring the potential of neuromodulation—a technique using ultrasound to noninvasively stimulate deep areas of the brain that control emotional processing—to bring relief from treatment-resistant depression. The team completed the initial pilot study in 2022, the first step to potentially opening a new frontier in psychiatry and behavioral health.

“Some patients have suffered for years with this kind of depression, and finding an effective treatment can truly change their lives,” says Soares.

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