Is vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) an effective treatment for treatment-resistant major depression (TRMD)?

Updated: Mar 28, 2019
  • Author: Jerry L Halverson, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Answer

Conway et al studied 13 patients with treatment-resistant major depression (TRMD) who received 12 months of treatment with vagus nerve stimulation (VNS). [175, 176] Positron emission tomography (PET) brain imaging was performed before the initiation of stimulation and again 3 and 12 months after stimulation had begun.

Of the 13 patients in the study, 9 experienced improvement in depression with the VNS treatment. [176] Among those who responded, the PET scans showed changes in brain metabolism after 3 months of stimulation, but this occurred several months before any improvements in their symptoms of depression were noted.


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