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Researchers Discover Breakthrough Treatment for Depression

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~identifies prefrontal cortex as a specific target for administration of DBS as treatment for depression for clinical trials

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, April 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — A team of seven researchers, including Professor Yasin Temel from Maastricht University Medical Centre, the Netherlands, with Associate Professor Dr Lim Lee Wei from Sunway University, Malaysia as co-lead author, and comprising researchers from Malaysia, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK, has discovered that electrical stimulation into the brain via Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) targeting the prefrontal cortex treats symptoms of depression most effectively. The prefrontal cortex plays a crucial role in the regulation of complex cognitive, emotional and behavioural functions.

(L-R) Prof. Yasin Temel and Assoc. Prof. Lim Lee Wei found a specific brain target stimulation for depression. This picture was taken during the 2008 European Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery meeting in Rimini, Italy. They were discussing brain targets for electrical stimulation in depression. (Photo: Dr. Sonny Tan)
(L-R) Prof. Yasin Temel and Assoc. Prof. Lim Lee Wei found a specific brain target stimulation for depression. This picture was taken during the 2008 European Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery meeting in Rimini, Italy. They were discussing brain targets for electrical stimulation in depression. (Photo: Dr. Sonny Tan)

According to the World Health Organization, more than 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression globally, making it the fourth leading cause of societal burden among all diseases. If current trends continue, depression will become the highest-ranking cause of disease burden in the world by 2020.

In most cases, depression can be treated effectively by medication, electroconvulsive therapy, or psychotherapy. However, approximately 20% of patients fail to respond to these standard therapies and nearly 60% may not achieve an adequate response.

Professor Yasin Temel, who is also a neurosurgeon specializing in DBS, said, “The use of stimulation electrodes implanted in the brain to control severely disabling psychiatric and neurological conditions is an exciting and fast-emerging area of clinical neuroscience.”

Explaining the research, Associate Professor Dr Lim said, “Prior to this, while clinical studies have demonstrated the efficacy of DBS in treating depression, the most effective brain area to administer DBS for this purpose had not been identified. With this research, we are able to target the prefrontal cortex as a specific modulator of depressive-like behaviours and obtain the optimum result for treatment with DBS.”

Internationally-renowned serotonin researcher, Professor Trevor Sharp, from Oxford University, who is also part of the team said, “There is world-wide interest in the use of stimulation electrodes implanted into the brain to help severely depressed patients who are resistant to other treatments, but the best part of the brain to target is uncertain and this is holding up progress. Stimulation of this prefrontal cortex region influences serotonin cells in other parts of the brain, and these are the cells targeted by antidepressants such as Prozac. Future clinical trials of stimulation in depressed patients now have a clear target in the brain.”

The breakthrough findings were published in the well-regarded Translational Psychiatry, a journal of the Nature Publishing Group and a sister journal to the number-one journal in psychiatry, which focuses on the novel treatment of neuropsychiatry diseases.

The funding of the study was derived from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (Yasin Temel), Parkinson’s UK (Trevor Sharp), and the Singapore Lee Kuan Yew Research Fellowship (Lim Lee Wei).

Sunway University continues to focus on getting and nurturing the best talents including academicians and researchers, in its quest to achieve excellence in education to enrich and improve lives.

Research Article Reference:

Lim LW, Prickaerts J, Huguet G, Kadar E, Hartung H, Sharp T, Temel Y. Electrical stimulation alleviates depressive-like behaviors of rats: investigation of brain targets and potential mechanisms. Transl Psychiatry. 2015 Mar 31;5:e535. doi: 10.1038/tp.2015.24.

About Sunway University

Sunway University achieved an EXCELLENT rating (Tier 5) in the first official rating of all universities and university colleges in Malaysia in the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) Rating System for Institutions of Higher Learning (SETARA) in 2009, 2011 and 2013.

Sunway University welcomes more students and staff with the completion of its new 12-storey building equipped with cutting edge academic facilities, including a state-of-the-art auditorium and modern lecture halls with conducive breakout rooms. The new environmentally-friendly building can accommodate 9,000 more students.

The student population of Sunway University stands at over 5,000 with 30% of them international students from around 90 countries.

In 2006 Sunway University entered into a partnership with Lancaster University, ranked in the top 1% of universities in the world. With the partnership, Sunway University’s home-grown degrees are validated by Lancaster University. Students can pursue degrees in the areas of business, computing and information systems, communication and creative arts, hospitality, life sciences, psychology, nursing and American degree transfer programme. The University also partners the famed global institution for culinary education, Le Cordon Bleu to validate its international hospitality management and culinary management degrees.

Sunway University is owned and governed by the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation.

For more information, visit www.sunway.edu.my/university. For research interests and on Sunway University Academic Team, please log on to http://sunway.edu.my/university/research-profiles

Photo – http://photos.prnasia.com/prnh/20150416/8521502366

Source: Sunway Group

Written by asiafreshnews

April 17, 2015 at 6:10 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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