St. Jude Medical will begin enrollment in a controlled, multi-site, blinded, clinical study of deep brain stimulation for major depressive disorder, a severe form of depression.

Deep Brain Stimulation for Depression

In the U.S., more than 21 million adults suffer from some kind of depressive disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Of these, only about 80 percent can be effectively treated with currently available therapies, according to the National Advisory Mental Health Council. Unfortunately, that means approximately 4 million adult Americans live with depression that does not respond to medications, psychotherapy and, in certain cases, electroconvulsive therapy.

The BROADEN (BROdmann Area 25 DEep brain Neuromodulation) study will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of deep brain stimulation in patients with depression for whom currently-available treatments are not effective.

The Libra Deep Brain Stimulation System, which is being evaluated in this study, is designed to deliver mild electrical pulses from a device implanted near the collarbone and connected to small electrical leads placed at specific targets in the brain.

Deep Brain Stimulation

Major depressive disorder is severely disabling,” said Dr. Lozano. “Currently, there are no widely-accepted treatment options for patients with this condition once multiple medications, psychotherapy and electroconvulsive therapy have failed.