A possible cure for depression

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We discovered a new area in the brains that can be influenced which plays an important role in moods. The first experiments show that stimulation of this specific spot in the brains can be a remedy against depression. The technique we use, deep brain stimulation, is also used by Parkinsons disease.

Deep brain stimulation would in the future be a possible solution for people who suffer from a major depression

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Depression is one of the most common mental disorders worldwide. According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 350 million people suffer from this mood disorder. Treatment of depression includes medication (antidepressants), electroshock therapy and / or psychotherapy. For one in five patients this doesn’t work at all and for three in five patients this is not enough to make all symptons disappear.

Deep brain stimulation is an innovative technique in which local areas are stimulated in the brains by using electrical impulses. Until now, this method has proved only limited success in depression. In order to apply deep brain stimulation effective in depression, they needed to know where the area in the brains is located which can affect mood most. That piece of the brains seems to be found.

The part of the brains where it is all about, is called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. This specific location in the brain is present by all mammals and for example decision-making and emotional reactions are things that this region is involved with . Stimulation of this area appears to have a positive effect on the mood.  This stimulation affects the brain cells that produce the "happiness hormone" serotonin.

Why is this so important

Especially for people for whom alternative therapies do not work to relieve the symptoms of a major depression, deep brain stimulation would in the future be a possible solution.

Biography

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Prof. dr. Yasin Temel is a neurosurgeon with a strong interest in translational NeuroscienceHis clinical activities include general Neurosurgery, with special emphasis on Functional Neurosurgery and Skull Base surgery. His research activities are directly linked to these two topics. The first line of research focuses on improving existing neuromodulatory treatments and developing novel therapies for neurodegenerative disorders. The second line of research aims to develop biological markers predicting the disease course and surgical outcome of skull base tumors such as chordomas and vestibular schwannomas.

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My expertise

Functional Neurosurgery, Skull Based surgery, neurodegenerative disorders, depression, parkinssons desease, deep brain stimulation