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Biomarker Identified for Early Antidepressant Effects of Deep Brain Stimulation

Acute behavioral changes and long-term antidepressant response can be reliably elicited by surgically targeting and stimulating the subcallosal cingulate (SCC) gyrus area 25, a brain area implicated in depression. While the clinical effectiveness of DBS over the course of six months of treatment has been repeatedly demonstrated, there are differences in the timeline of recovery across different patients. A new study identifies an electrophysiological biomarker that can help optimize this experimental procedure in treating treatment-resistant depression and gain insights into the mechanisms underlying the efficacy of deep brain stimulation.

Depression Biomarker Enables Precision Therapy in Landmark Study

A new way of treating major depression has been developed by scientists at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). The approach builds on earlier work that identified signature electrical activities in the brain that correlate to different moods, and brain regions that when stimulated relieve depression. In the new two-step method, the researchers identify a symptom-specific neural biomarker and a treatment location where focal electrical stimulation improves the symptoms. They then implant a device in the identified location, capable of sensing and stimulating electrical impulses that triggers therapeutic deep brain stimulation when the severity of the symptom increases.

Versatile Molecular Hauler in Long-Term Memory and Synaptic Plasticity Identified

A new study identifies a molecular motor (KIF5C) that carries over 600 transcripts over long distances from the cell body of neurons to synapses for localized protein synthesis, thereby playing a critical role in excitatory synaptic transmission and structural synaptic plasticity, the key to long term memory storage. The study shows deficiency of KIF5C in the hippocampus, a region of the brain important in long-term memory formation, impairs both contextual and spatial memory while its abundance in the hippocampus enhances spatial memory and the attenuation of fear responses upon repeated exposure to the context without the aversive stimuli.