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AANS: Deep Brain Stimulation May Help Memory Deficits

Small study of subjects with severe psychiatric conditions shows unexpected cognitive benefits

MONDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- Deep brain stimulation may help improve psychiatric function and memory in patients with severe conditions such as obsessive compulsive disorder and major depression disorder who do not respond to conventional therapy, according to research presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons in Washington, D.C.

Cynthia S. Kubu, Ph.D., of the Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues examined the neuropsychological function of 18 patients with severe psychiatric illness before and after placement of bilateral deep brain stimulation electrodes in the anterior limb of the internal capsule/ventral striatum.

The researchers found that most patients experienced significantly and sustained improvements in psychiatric function, daily functioning, and verbal memory.

"These findings (about memory) were unexpected and raise the possibility that, just as deep brain stimulation in specific motor or psychiatric circuits can significantly improve the underlying motor or psychiatric symptoms, deep brain stimulation can interface with cognitive circuits and result in significant improvements in memory in patients with severe psychiatric illnesses," the authors concluded. "These findings need to be replicated, and longer-term follow-up studies of these patients are essential. Studies are currently under way to better understand these findings."


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