Is deep brain stimulation (DBS) an effective treatment for chronic, treatment-resistant depression?
According to a new study, it is. But sadly, without a control group, the researchers can’t really say whether it was their treatment — DBS — that helped people with their depression, or whether it was simply the passage of time. Furthermore, the study did not show that actual DBS treatment is more effective than placebo treatment — so-called “sham” treatment (where a patient undergoes the procedure, but nothing is activated afterward).
This last point is important, because other studies conducted on other alternative depression brain treatments have shown mixed results when it comes to comparing them to placebos. In multiple studies, researchers have found no significant differences between the real treatment and the placebo or sham treatment.