Treatment Of Deep Brain Stimulation

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Millions of people suffer from depression everyday, while a smaller subset experience treatment-resistant depression. “Treatment-Resistant depression is a severely disabling disorder with no proven treatment options once multiple medications, psychotherapy, and electroconvulsive therapy have failed” (Mayberg, 651). In Theo’s case, his episode of depression was brought on by a terrible life experience and though he had a prior episode of depression in early adulthood, this episode proved to reject all forms of treatment. Now considering the novel treatment of deep brain stimulation, Theo and his wife, Suzy, have concerns and questions about the possible long term effects of deep brain stimulation and evidence that suggests that a treatment that interacts directly with the brain would work without dealing directly with Theo’s stress. The main concern deals with changes in Theo as a person due to the imperfect targeting of deep brain stimulation. I argue that if deep brain stimulation is effective for Theo, reprogramming the stimulator could give Theo a different personality. Deep brain stimulation is an invasive electrical treatment that works by sending pulses of electricity to electrodes implanted at different contact points in the brain. In the Mayberg study, it was found that subgenual cingulate (Cg25) is consistently involved “in both acute sadness and antidepressant treatment effects, suggesting a critical role for this region in modulating negative mood sates” (Mayberg, 651). It was also linked to areas of the brain that influence core behaviors altered in depressed patients (Mayberg, 652). Directly targeting the brain instead of implementing treatments that directly target Theo’s stress is a treatment that could work becaus... ... middle of paper ... Deep brain stimulation involves implanting electrodes into the brain to induce changes to obtain clinical improvement in people with depression. Essentially, Theo will be perceived as part human and part machine because the electrodes that receive electric stimulation are magnifying his mental capabilities in order for him to properly function in daily life. In the case of Theo receiving the treatment to simply treat his depression, deep brain stimulation would be acting as a restorative technology that is operating to restore Theo to his normal function and identity. In reality, this is not much different that using implanted cardiac pacemakers or artificial joints. However, if this treatment is taken a step further to optimize aspects of Theo’s personality, then in turns into an enhancement technology, which may be perceived with a more negative connotation.
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