‘India tops in people suffering from depression’

Chennai: Ten per cent of world population suffer from depression, with India, China and US being the top three, said Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Centre for Advanced Circuit Therapeutics director Helen S Mayberg.

She was delivering a lecture on the occasion of 39th T S Srinivasan Endowment Oration titled ‘Rethinking Depression and its Treatment – Stimulating the Brain to Heal the Mind’ here recently.

Her oration detailed the progress that was being made in treating depression by combining new technologies with enhanced imaging techniques to improve predictability.

“Anti-depressants and psychotherapy can provide relief in people with persistent depressive disorders and can help them to resume a normal life. But for those who experience treatment-resistant depression (TRD), standard medications and therapies tend to provide little to no relief. This is where treatment technologies such as Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) come into play. DBS is an emerging treatment strategy for patients with intractable depression which uses high-frequency electrical stimulation that is targeted to a specific or localized area of the brain. Use of specialised scanning techniques to map depression in the brain plays a crucial role in the development, testing and refinement of the procedure,” said Mayberg.

According to the expert, “There is still more that needs to be discovered, but scientists are optimistic that DBS has the potential to treat TRD. She maintained that going forward, a responsive neuro stimulator is the next step which can be integrated with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, with support of big data to track the rhythm of the brain for NextGen treatment strategies.”

NT Bureau