ASA Monitor December 2023, Vol. 87, 18.
Biomarker for tracking treatment-resistant depression
In a recent study of treatment-resistant depression, researchers used a deep brain stimulation (DBS) device that records brain signals and identified a brain activity pattern or “biomarker” associated with clinical improvements in depression symptoms. The study involved 10 adults with treatment-resistant depression who underwent six months of DBS therapy. AI tools analyzing brain data revealed a common brain activity signature linked to symptom improvement. Results showed that 90% of participants experienced significant improvement in depression symptoms, with 70% achieving remission or no longer being depressed. An algorithm was used to distinguish between depressive and stable recovery states, providing an early warning system for clinicians to adjust DBS treatment. Structural and functional abnormalities in the targeted brain network were also identified, and changes in facial expressions during interviews correlated with the biomarker’s findings. This biomarker could help clinicians objectively track and adjust DBS treatment. The researchers are confirming their findings in a second patient cohort and plan to explore the effects of DBS on other mental disorders.