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Vagal Nerve Stimulation "possible treatment for depression"

14 September, 2000

The 20 per cent of depression sufferers finding no relief through existing treatment, may be glad to hear of alternative treatments using vagal nerve stimulation. This has produced encouraging preliminary test results for those that have treatment resistant depression. Researchers at the University Medical Centre, Arizona Medical School, are selecting participants for the study.

Speaking to reporters from Health News, Dr Labiner, the head of the research reported that during epilepsy studies using vagal nerve stimulation, they noticed that many patients felt 'emotionally better.' They then decided to to test the procedureas a potential treatment for depression.

Vagal nerve stimulation involves implanting a battery powered generator into the chest, with a lead attached to the vagus nerve at the neck. The intensity, level, and duration of the stimulation can then be adjusted to suit the patient.