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03/07/2014

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Eddy, you probably know this, but one of the leaders in deep brain stimulation for treatment of depression is Helen Mayberg from Psychiatry at Emory.

http://www.psychiatry.emory.edu/faculty/mayberg_helen.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_S._Mayberg

http://bbrfoundation.org/brain-matters-discoveries/brain-scans-predict-best-course-of-treatment-for-patients-with-depression

An interview:
http://thesciencenetwork.org/programs/one-mind-for-research/helen-s-mayberg-md

She has come under harsh ethical fire for her testimony in court in death penalty cases:

http://alison-bass.blogspot.com/2011/06/is-credibility-of-emory-neurologist.html

I can imagine it would enliven your conference to have her speak on the ethical and legal implications of her scientific work or work as an expert witness, or to even have her debate her critics.

Deep brain stimulation for the treatment of extreme depression, as far as I understand it, involves applying 130hz alternating current to a region of the subgenual cortex (just below the front of the corpus callosum inside the medial wall of the frontal lobe). Patients not only stop being depressed, amazingly, they will sometimes ask "who turned the lights on?" since the DBS also appears to change brightness and color saturation. I was interested in this because of the implications for the NCC, so asked her colleague Paul Holtzheimer, now at Dartmouth Med School, why 130hz (this is very fast and no single neuron is likely continually firing this fast for extended durations). I think they do not deeply understand why 130hz, nor do I, but it works. And if it works, why not use it to help the most desperate among us?

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