Re: virus: Sadectomy

James Veverka (
Mon, 31 May 1999 09:23:59 -0400 (EDT)

A couple of weeks ago we learned a new medical term: Godectomy! Here is a continuation of that line of thought. Lets propose a Sadectomy for the most depressed!...............jim

Stimulation of spot in brain triggers depression 1.37 a.m. ET (537 GMT) May 13, 1999

BOSTON (AP)......................

— Accidental electrical stimulation of the brain during medical treatment can trigger bouts of deep depression that come and go almost instantly, researchers reported today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

French doctors made the discovery while treating a woman with Parkinson's disease. They implanted electrodes deep in her brain in an attempt to stimulate the parts that malfunction in her disease.

To their surprise, they found that turning on one of these electrodes made the woman profoundly sad. She leaned to the right, started to cry and told of feeling of sad, guilty and useless.

"I no longer wish to live, to see anything, hear anything, feel
anything,'' she told doctors. Asked if she felt pain, she replied, "No, I'm fed up with life. I've had enough.''

Ninety seconds after the doctors stopped the electrical stimulation, the woman's depression disappeared. Stimulating another electrode implanted nearby dramatically relieved the woman's Parkinson's disease, enabling her to give up taking her medicine.

The doctors asked if they could repeat their stimulation of the depression electrode while they videotaped her. The woman agreed, and twice more they triggered profound sadness. Dr. Boulos-Paul Bejjani and others from INSERM, the French research organization, published the report.

In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Stuart Yudofsky of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston wrote that the report "raises fundamental and far-reaching questions about depression'' and the use of electrical treatments. Among them:

—Is depression hard-wired into the brain? -Does depression carry some evolutionary advantage, such as intensifying grief in a way that helps hold families together? —Can brain stimulation also trigger symptoms of mania, and would this be a possible treatment for depression? —Could stimulation of other parts of the brain treat such disorders as alcoholism, drug abuse, aggression and violence?