U.S. researchers discover biomarker for tracking depression recovery

  • World
  • Thursday, 21 Sep 2023

LOS ANGLES, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- U.S. researchers have identified a pattern of brain activity or "biomarker" related to clinical signs of recovery from treatment-resistant depression using a novel deep brain stimulation (DBS) device, according to a release of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Wednesday.

The findings of the study are an important step toward using brain data to understand a patient's response to DBS treatment, according to the research.

The small study enrolled adults with treatment-resistant depression, all of whom underwent DBS therapy for six months.

Researchers used artificial intelligence tools to analyze collected brain data from patients and observed a common brain activity signature or biomarker that correlated with patients self-reporting feeling symptoms of depression or stable as they recovered.

The patients responded well to DBS therapy. After six months, 90 percent of them showed a significant improvement in depression symptoms, and 70 percent were in remission or no longer depressed, according to the study.

"This biomarker suggests that brain signals can be used to help understand a patient's response to DBS treatment and adjust the treatment accordingly," said Joshua A. Gordon, director of NIH's National Institute of Mental Health. "The findings mark a major advance in translating a therapy into practice."

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