Vagus Nerve Stimulation, the only FDA approved technique to treat depression that fits Medgadget’s rubric, the unapproved technique being TSD (Transcranial Stimulation & Depression), is continuing to show positive results in a study from Medical University of South Carolina.
The study illustrates that VNS Therapy modifies activity of the medial prefrontal cortex, the same area of the brain targeted by many antidepressant medications and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). A critical time for such effective modulation occurs approximately at 30 weeks of treatment. Such modulation could support VNS Therapy’s unique mechanism of action as a long- term treatment for chronic or recurrent depression and directly corresponds with the timeframe in which patients typically experience a decrease in symptoms. Further analysis of the data demonstrates that modulation of the brain is a dynamic process that over time leads to indirectly related improved response with continued use. These findings corroborate an earlier MUSC-led study that revealed approximately two-thirds of patients who respond to VNS Therapy continue to experience significant clinical benefit at 24 months, making VNS Therapy the only treatment for TRD to demonstrate such long-term improvements.