Is this the type of medicine that we are now turning to for ‘tough cases’? Drilling holes in our skulls and implanting electrodes to fight depression? It seems a little barbaric to me, but lets examine.
Recap of story: After struggling with severe depression her whole life, Edi has decided to undergo an experimental treatment in which 2 holes are drilled into the skull and a pair of battery-powered electrodes are implanted deep in the brain. The treatment is based off the ground-breaking research of neurologist Dr. Helen Mayberg. The procedure — called deep brain stimulation, or DBS — targets a small brain structure known as Area 25, the “ringleader” for the brain circuits that control our moods. Research on this part of the brain showed that Area 25 is relatively overactive in depressed patients.
The Problem: For all the ground-breaking research that is quite valuable, not once did the question of “why is this area overactive?” come up.