It is a path breaking form of neurosurgery that can help individuals where traditional treatments fail – it is known as Deep Brain Stimulation and it can help to treat depression and other conditions such as dystonia (a neurological movement disorder), Parkinson’s disease and so on.
The procedure consists of placing thin wires deep inside the brain and then connecting these to a small device placed under the skin which is rather like a pacemaker and the size of a matchbox.
Electrical pulses are then generated, which help to stimulate the circuits of the brain.
The circuits targeted are those that are involved in regulation of emotion and which are known to malfunction among depressed individuals.
A hole is bored into the skull to insert the electrodes into the brain; which are inserted in the areas corresponding to the sort of problem an individual is to be treated for. Deep Brain stimulation has three components – first the implanted pulse generator (IPG), second the lead, and third the extension.
Using Deep Brain stimulation, electrical impulses are transmitted to the frontal cortex of the brain. This was seen to cause significant improvement in patients, a 2005 study had noted.