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Transcutaneous Screening Test for Evaluation of Potential Efficacy of Chronic Trigeminal Neurostimulation as a Therapy for Depression Disclosure Number: IPCOM000130109D
Publication Date: 2005-Oct-11
Document File: 6 page(s) / 111K

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With the high number of patients suffering from depression, a continual effort from researchers and clinicians to advance available treatments is still a major challenge. In the medical arena of neurostimulation, Transcutaneous Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation (TTNS) may demonstrate efficacy in the treatment of patients suffering from depression. While the mechanism of action of TTNS has not been confirmed, a number of researchers believe that TTNS may exert its reduction in depressive effects through afferent stimulation of the Trigeminal nerve and its branches.

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Transcutaneous Screening Test for Evaluation of Potential Efficacy of Chronic Trigeminal Neurostimulation as a Therapy for Depression

Background & Summary

When patients speak of depression, they usually mean the emotion of feeling sad, "blue", down-in-the dumps, unhappy, demoralized - i.e., dysthymia. When clinicians speak of depression, they are usually referring to a syndrome of mental disorders consisting of many symptoms and signs, including appetite loss, anhedonia, hopelessness, insomnia, and dysthymia. Such mental disorders are the most common disorders seen by outpatient psychiatrists. Mood disorders, principally depression, are far and away the number one cause of suicide. Teenage suicides are increasing at an alarming rate. Most of these suicides, however, are preventable, and in doing so, the first step is to learn about their chief cause - depression. (For clarity, dysthymia refers to the emotion and disorders of depression while depression refers to the syndromes of depression). [Maxmen, et al., 1995]

[Maxmen, et al., 1995] in their chapter entitled "Mood Disorders" offer the following clinical presentation on Major Depression. The first essential feature of major depression is either severe dysphoria or anhedonia - that is, a pervasive loss of interest or ability to experience pleasure in normally enjoyable activities. The dysphoria is usually dysthymia, but it can be irritable or apprehensive. Patients describe this dysphoria as "living in a black hole," "feeling dead," "overwhelmed by doom," or "physically drained." However, many patients with major depression do not feel depressed or even dysphoric, but anhedonic. A baseball fan suddenly doesn't care about the World Series; a loving father loses interest in his child; a devoted nurse cares little for her patients. Just because patients don't look unhappy or complain about "being in the dumps," if anhedonic, they might still have a major depression. A majority of patients with major depression look lifeless, boring, or dull, rather than sad and crying. Patients suspected of having a major depression should be asked not only if they feel depressed (or sad, blue, down, etc.), but also if they no longer enjoy things anymore.

Recent estimates indicate that more than 19 million Americans over the age of 18 years experience a depressive illness each year. The American Psychiatric Association recognizes several types of clinical depression, including Mild Depression (Dysthymia), Major Depression, and Bipolar Disorder (Manic-Depression). Major Depression is defined by a constellation of chronic symptoms that include sleep problems, appetite problems, anhedonia or lack of energy, feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness, difficulty concentrating, and suicidal thoughts. Approximately 9.2 million Americans suffer from Major Depression, and approximately 15 percent of all people who suffer from Major Depression take their own lives. Bipolar Disorder involves major depressive ...