Promising New Technology Offers Treatment for Youth Depression - medtigo



Promising New Technology Offers Treatment for Youth Depression

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According to SciTech Daily, millions of young people worldwide suffer from depression, making it a critical issue in mental health. Patients suffering from depression have difficulty finding satisfaction in anything and have constant feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and indifference.

Other symptoms associated with changes in your eating and sleeping patterns include mood swings, feelings of worthlessness, and difficulty focusing. This clinical and neurophysiological study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of a Major Depressive Disorder treatment regimen that included brain stimulation and cognitive exercises in a group of twenty-six young adults (16-24 years old) (MDD). TBS, or theta-burst stimulation, has been demonstrated to be an effective therapy for adult depression.  

Transcranial magnetic stimulation is used to target the prefrontal cortex (TBS). This brain region’s functions span from cognition and thinking to regulate involuntary processes. It’s also an important place to understand clinical depression. Rumination and suicidal thoughts are two symptoms that are frequently related to prefrontal brain illnesses.  

Adolescent participants in the research were given TBS treatments that targeted the prefrontal cortex for four weeks. The researchers used transcranial magnetic stimulation and electroencephalography to monitor and record changes in brain activity as part of a multimodal brain mapping strategy (TMS-EEG).

After four weeks of TBS, significant changes in brain activity occurred in both stimulated and unstimulated areas. Changes in brain activity were seen in conjunction with a decrease in depressive symptoms and reflective thinking.  

“Approximately 11% of teenagers and youth suffer from Major Depressive Disorder,” says Farzan, an associate professor at SFU’s School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering. “However, current therapies, such as medication and psychotherapy, fail to meaningfully relieve symptoms in around 30 to 50% of instances” (MSE).

She is the director of the eBrain Lab at SFU and the chair of Technology Innovations for Youth Addiction Recovery and Mental Health. Some drugs have been related to adverse consequences in children and adolescents, including suicidal thinking and behavior. Therefore, safer therapeutic options are needed.  

Prefrontal brain dysfunction has been associated with severe depressive disorder. When comparing children with MDD to healthy youngsters, brain imaging using transcranial magnetic stimulation and electroencephalography demonstrated higher prefrontal cortex activity.

It was “very gratifying” for Prabhjot Dhami, a doctoral student, and writer at Simon Fraser University, to discover that TBS treatment over four weeks tended to lessen this aberrant brain activity, presumably signaling a return to a “healthy” condition.   

Farzan contends that an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex may cause symptoms such as rumination and suicidal ideation/behavior in young persons with MDD. The prefrontal cortex is vulnerable to malfunction or abnormalities that might trigger and perpetuate depression symptoms due to its prominent role in executive functioning.


Researchers discovered that when transcranial magnetic stimulation (TBS) of the prefrontal cortex was followed by cognitive tasks that may excite this brain area, the effects of TBS were increased in young people with MDD. 

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