Studies show that more than half of patients with depression do not fully recover on antidepressant medication. And one-third of those that do recover will experience remission.
It can be a grueling cycle of relief and despair for those seeking help. But new research and nontraditional treatments are giving depression patients fresh hope.
Research shows there is also a strong link between a region of the brain known as the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and depression.
Understanding the link between the DLPFC and Major Depressive Disorder is helping create new treatments for not only depression, but anxiety, OCD, and PTSD.
The Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex (DLPFC)
The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is located at the top of the pre-frontal lobe of the brain. It is where cognitive processes such as planning, problem-solving, and memory recall, happen.
The DLPFC is also considered to be central to the brain’s ability to regulate emotions.
Low activity in this area of the brain can lead to problems with executive functions. It causes attention deficits, compulsive behaviors, memory problems, and depressed moods.
Depression, Anxiety, OCD, PTSD, and the DLPFC
Major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, OCD, and PTSD have all been linked to low activity in the DLPFC.
In brain-imaging studies using PET scans, abnormally low activity in the left prefrontal cortex was found in depressed patients.
The scans also showed a correlation between depression and the low DLPFC activity. The more severe the depression, the steeper the decline in activity in this area of the brain.
Stimulating the DLPFC
Stimulating the brain cells in an underactive DLPFC is an effective depression therapy.
Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (also known as repetitive TMS) is a procedure that uses magnetic pulses that pass through the skull to stimulate the activity of brain cells in the DLPFC.
The procedure involves placing magnetic coils on the patient’s head. These coils deliver magnetic pulses that stimulate nerve cells. Similar to the magnetic pulses used in MRIs.
Treatment courses vary but tend to run for six weeks, five days a week with a few “taper sessions” to follow. Each session lasts just under 19 minutes. And no sedation is needed for the treatment. It is non-invasive and requires no post-treatment recovery time.
Safe and Effective Treatment
DLPFC stimulation is well-tolerated, with few side effects. The most common ones are mild headaches, lightheadedness, and mild tingling at the site of administration.
And the treatment has been reported effective for over 64% of patients that did not respond to medication.
You can read more about repetitive TMS treatment for depression on our website. We offer high-quality and trusted treatment for depression, anxiety, OCD, and PTSD. Our staff is licensed and uses FDA-approved equipment.
Talk to your doctor if you have tried other depression treatments that haven’t worked. Then contact us to set up an appointment to find out how we provide relief with a safe and effective procedure.