Brain stimulation of lateral orbitofrontal cortex improves mood in depressed individuals

first_imgShare Email Chang is also a neurosurgeon with UCSF Health specializing in epilepsy, which allows his team to leverage a unique cohort of patient volunteers who have electrodes temporarily implanted in their brains as part of standard preparation for neurosurgery. These electrodes typically help surgeons identify and remove brain tissue responsible for patients’ seizures while avoiding nearby tissue involved in important functions such as language. In the new study, led by UCSF assistant professor of neurology Vikram Rao, MD, PhD, and Chang lab postdoctoral researcher Kristin Sellers, PhD, the ability to record directly from patients’ brains allowed the researchers to seek out potential sites for therapeutic brain stimulation to counteract depression.The researchers recruited 25 patients from Chang’s epilepsy clinic who reported minimal to severe symptoms of depression, and asked them to report their mood several times a day using a tablet-based app while they were in the hospital awaiting surgery. This allowed the researchers to use the patients’ implanted electrodes to observe patterns of brain activity linked to natural mood fluctuations over several days and to zero in on brain regions linked to depression that might be amenable to brain stimulation.In much the same way that neurologists typically map language function prior to brain surgery, the researchers then used mild electrical current to systematically disrupt brain activity in candidate regions — including the orbitofrontal cortex “OFC”, amygdala, cingulate cortex, insula, and hippocampus — while asking patients to report the effect on their mood on a set of standardized scales ranging between opposing states such as “calm” vs. “restless” or “hopeful” vs. “hopeless.” The volunteers were also asked to freely describe how they felt during stimulation, which the researchers transcribed and analyzed with software to quantify the emotional words patients used.The researchers found that most stimulation locations produced no effect on volunteers’ mood, but that applying current to the lateral OFC for just three minutes, even on just one side of the brain, produced significant improvements in mood in patients with moderate to severe depression.“Patients said things like ‘Wow, I feel better,’ ‘I feel less anxious,’ ‘I feel calm, cool and collected,’” recalled Sellers. “And just anecdotally, you could see the improvements in patients’ body language. They smiled, they sat up straighter, they started to speak more quickly and naturally.”Two additional observations suggested that OFC stimulation could have therapeutic potential, the researchers said. First, uniquely among the brain regions they examined, the researchers found that applying current to the lateral OFC triggered wide-spread patterns of brain activity that resembled what had naturally occurred in volunteers’ brains during positive moods in the days before brain stimulation. Equally promising was the fact that stimulation only improved mood in patients with moderate to severe depression symptoms but had no effect on those with milder symptoms.“These two observations suggest that stimulation was helping patients with serious depression experience something like a naturally positive mood state, rather than artificially boosting mood in everyone,” said Rao, who is also a UCSF Health neurologist and a member of the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences. “This is in line with previous observations that OFC activity is elevated in patients with severe depression and suggests electrical stimulation may affect the brain in a way that removes an impediment to positive mood that occurs in people with depression.”The authors caution that additional research in larger groups of patients will be needed to determine whether stimulating the lateral OFC can produce long-lasting improvements in mood. However, they said they hope that improved understanding of the OFC’s role in emotion regulation will help identify “biomarkers” of depression in the brain and pave the way for the next generation of individually tailored treatments, such as Rao and others already use routinely in patients with epilepsy.“The more we understand about depression at this level of brain circuitry, the more options we may have for offering patients effective treatments with a low risk of side effects,” said Heather Dawes, PhD, who helped to oversee the research. “Perhaps by understanding how these emotion circuits go wrong in the first place, we can even one day help the brain ‘unlearn’ depression.” LinkedIn Share on Facebookcenter_img Pinterest Share on Twitter Patients with moderate to severe depression reported significant improvements in mood when researchers precisely stimulated a brain region called the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), according to a UC San Francisco research study published November 29, 2018 in Current Biology. The results are an important step toward developing a therapy for people with treatment-resistant depression, which affects as many as 30 percent of depression patients, the authors say.Using electrical current to directly stimulate affected regions of the brain has proven to be an effective therapy for treating certain forms of epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease, but efforts to develop therapeutic brain stimulation for depression have so far been inconclusive. These earlier efforts focused on stimulation of deep brain regions within the cingulate cortex and basal ganglia that are known to play a direct role in emotional processing, but much less is known about the emotion-regulating functions of the OFC, a small region on the lower surface of the brain just above the eyes.“The OFC has been called one of the least understood regions in the brain, but it is richly connected to various brain structures linked to mood, depression and decision making, making it very well positioned to coordinate activity between emotion and cognition,” said study senior author Eddie Chang, MD, a UCSF professor of neurosurgery and member of the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences whose research lab studies the neuroscience of language and mood.last_img read more

New Ebola cases underscore Beni as outbreak epicenter

first_imgIn further worrisome developments, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) announced four more Ebola cases late yesterday, including two deaths.There are now 181 total cases and 115 deaths in the ongoing outbreak in North Kivu province. Twenty-one cases are under investigation, the DRC Health Ministry said.Two each of the new cases announced yesterday are in Beni and Butembo, which raise the recorded number of cases in these two cities in the past 4 days to 16.Beni on track to be hardest hitThe DRC’s ministry of health said the recent spike in cases in these areas confirms that case contacts during the initial wave of cases in August and September who avoided follow-up and vaccination have now been infected. Beni has been a hotbed of anti-response activity, especially the neighborhood of Ndindi.”The factors contributing to this situation are mainly misinformation, non-collaboration of the population with the response teams and insecurity,” the Health Ministry said in its daily update. “More than two months after the declaration of the epidemic, the community continues to prevent the safe and dignified burial, and at-risk contacts still refuse vaccination and 21-day follow-up.”Experts in the DRC now predict that cases in Beni will soon surpass totals in Mblanka, the first designated epicenter of North Kivu’s outbreak. To date, Mblanka has confirmed 91 cases and 65 deaths.As of yesterday, Beni has 57 confirmed or probable cases, and 35 deaths. Over the weekend DRC health officials said the new cases represent “a second wave of confirmed cases among refractory contacts.”Preparing for more cases in BeniDRC officials said they are preparing Beni for the influx of cases. “The Beni Ebola Treatment Center (ETC), which currently has 16 beds, will be expanded to accommodate at least 60 patients, additional doses of vaccines have been ordered, and additional epidemiologists will be deployed for alerts,” they said.Oly Ilunga Kalenga, MD, DRC public health minister, visited Beni last week and said response efforts would take a new direction in Beni, with the city divided into 18 health zones that will be surveyed closely. Also, additional vaccines and epidemiologists will be deployed to the area.Since Aug 8, a total of 15,114 people have been vaccinated against Ebola, including 5,250 in Beni, 4,289 in Mabalako, 1,663 in Mandima, 1,392 in Katwa, 1,100 in Butembo, 434 in Bunia, 355 in Tchomia, 270 in Masereka, 240 to Komanda, and 121 to Oicha.See also:Oct 8 DRC reportOct 8 CIDRAP News story, “DRC records 12 new Ebola cases over the weekend”last_img read more

Statement by the Chairman of CARICOM on the Violent Protests in Haiti

first_img CARICOM Heads Meet Friday – Handover of Chairmanship to… Jul 2, 2020 Sep 18, 2020 CARICOM congratulates St. Kitts and Nevis on Independence… Tribute to Sir Everton Weekes: Climbing to the Top –… Jul 10, 2020 Jun 30, 2020 The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is deeply concerned about the continuing violent protests in Haiti, which have resulted in the loss of life, property, destruction of infrastructure and caused grave distress. The Community calls for calm and a cessation of the violence, appealing to all involved to engage in constructive dialogue and to respect the Constitution, the rule of law and democratic processes so that issues can be resolved in a peaceful atmosphere and allow for the return to a state of normalcy. Share this:PrintTwitterFacebookLinkedInLike this:Like Loading… Statement by the Chairman of the Caribbean Community… You may be interested in… CARICOM Statement on HaitiThe Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is deeply concerned at the violent protest in Haiti, a Member State of the Community. The Chairman of CARICOM, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness, speaking on behalf of the Community, stated: “The Community deplores the loss of life, property and the damage to infrastructure and calls…July 8, 2018In “CARICOM”UNGA – President Jovenel Moise of Haiti (Summary of Statement)Statement Summary:  JOVENEL MOÏSE, President of Haiti, said that the General Assembly faces two underlying questions:  how to optimize mechanisms for international peace and security; and how international solidarity can be translated into a more effective system.  Combating poverty and promoting human rights are inexorably linked and abject poverty is a…September 27, 2018In “Haiti”CARICOM Chairman congratulates Haiti’s government, people on elections(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana)     The Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart, QC, MP, Prime Minister of Barbados, has welcomed the holding of the first round of elections in Haiti.  He said that the Community stood by its largest Member State as it conducted…August 14, 2015In “Barbados”Share this on WhatsApplast_img read more

NWDA ‘could owe millions’ on site sale

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Plug Power report Q2 results

first_imgSubscribe Get instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270.last_img

Linde to quadruple capacity in Singapore

first_imgGet instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270. Subscribelast_img

VDR saves ‘valuable’, says London P&I

first_imgThe operation of VDR units is generally well-understood by its shipowner members says the Club. However, there have been instances where masters have not preserved VDR data, or failed to recognise circumstances where such data – such as voice traffic on VHF radio and on the bridge – could be very valuable in the defence of a claim.In one instance, a ship heading into port was presented with a ‘head-on’ situation as described in Rule 14 of the International Rules for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea. A deal was struck on the VHF between the two ships regarding a course alteration. However, the ships collided, resulting in a substantial claim on the Club.The London P&I Club commented: “The master did not save the VDR data, presumably because the data could have been incriminating and used against him. While the same information was not likely to have reversed any liability for the incident, it may have been useful evidence to assist in reaching an amicable settlement. The effect on the settlement of the claim cannot now be quantified, although it stands to reason that the shipowner would have preferred the master to have saved the information. In an attempt to protect himself, the master may have exposed the owners to a larger settlement.” The London P&I Club added that onboard emergency guidance manuals usually contain aide memoir sheets, which assist the master with those structured and ordered tasks that need to be taken in priority order, and are aimed at ensuring that steps are not missed in an emergency. The Club advises its members to consider the insertion or addition of VDR data saves in an appropriate position on such lists.www.londonpandi.comlast_img read more

Van der Vlist adds combi-trailer

first_imgAccording to Van der Vlist, both parts of the combi-trailer are equipped with wheel wells that makes transportation of two pieces of wheeled equipment at the same time possible, rather than having to using one low loader for each machine.The wheel wells can also be closed with sliding parts which, if desired, creates a completely flat floor. The rear part of the trailer can be lowered hydraulically, which creates a loading ramp of almost 4 m. Van der Vlist claims this is especially useful for wheeled equipment with a low ground clearance.  At Van der Vlist’s terminal at the Port of Moerdijk, the Netherlands, it has assembled a hydrostatic port crane.The parts were transported from Germany to the Port of Moerdijk where once assembled, the finished 93-tonne unit was then transported by crane barge to its final destination at the Port of Dagenham, UK. www.vandervlist.comlast_img read more

Liebherr developing TCC 78000 at Rostock

first_imgFeaturing a maximum lifting height of 112 m, the rail-mounted heavy lift crane will be able to move over a distance of 420 m between the factory site and the adjacent quayside.Equipped with a double trolley (two rails per side) and a rail gauge of 30 m, Liebherr said the crane provides optimum flexibility for handling all types of large-sized goods.The TCC 78000 will be used for handling heavy cargoes from the offshore, shipbuilding, industrial plant construction and logistics sectors, as well as for its in-house logistics processes such as the production, assembly and dispatch of maritime cranes. In the future, the gantry crane will also provide other companies the possibility of handling heavy lift cargoes in the port of Rostock, added Liebherr.Its first major operation is to install the HLC 295000 heavy lift crane – the largest offshore crane Liebherr has ever built – onto DEME’s wind farm installation and platform decommissioning vessel, Orion.The HLC 295000 will be able to lift 5,000 tonnes at an outreach of more than 30 m. Liebherr was awarded the contract to supply the heavy lift crane for DEME in March 2018, as HLPFI reported here. www.liebherr.com www.rostock-port.de www.deme-group.comlast_img read more

Linklaters to move graduate recruitment online

first_imgFind advice and updates here. Graduate recruitment partner Alison WilsonCity firms are also considering what to do with trainees starting work this autumn. ‘This is an unfortunate situation for students across the years. Learning about the firm is going to be more difficult for them. And, for us, learning about who they are as individuals is equally challenging,’ Wilson said. ‘It’s one thing for a senior lawyer to think a remote office works just as well, but for junior lawyers it can be different.’International firm DLA Piper, which has one of the City’s biggest graduate intakes, has staggered its trainee start dates, offering graduates £10,000 to delay until August 2021. Meanwhile, new trainees at Irwin Mitchell have seen their start date pushed back from August 2020 to February 2021. *The Law Society is keeping the coronavirus situation under review and monitoring the advice it receives from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Public Health England. Magic circle firm Linklaters will recruit graduates online this autumn if lockdown restrictions are still in place, as the City grapples with how to select and train junior lawyers out of the office.Linklaters said it plans to recreate an assessment day online, with candidates completing a timed exercise, a partner interview and an interview with human resources as normal. It said the TopScore system – which the firm has already used to recruit graduates in Australia – is ‘very interactive and user friendly’ and has been well received by candidates.Graduate recruitment partner Alison Wilson said her experience of interviewing online was ‘positive overall’.‘It takes practice. Normally when you interview someone you walk with them from reception… You don’t get the same gradual start to an interview online and you have to work hard at the start to put candidates at ease.’ She added that virtual interviews tend to be more tiring for candidates, but ‘you still get a good sense of their capabilities’. Please see the Gazette’s dedicated coronavirus page here >>last_img read more