Andres Lozano: Parkinson’s, depression and the switch that might turn them off

Andres Lozano, the chair of neurosurgery and University of Toronto discusses a new technology that can “turn on” or “turn off” physical, cognitive or mental diseases by increasing or decreasing electrical activity in the brain as if one were using a remote control. In relation to OT 845, he discusses how placing electrodes in certain areas of the brain can lower symptoms of depression.

Image taken from the Ted Talks posted above

Image taken from the Ted Talks posted above

Image taken from the Ted Talks posted above

Image taken from the Ted Talks posted above

When electroconvulsive therapy does not work for patients with depression, Lozano looks to using his new electrode technology. In Cat scans for individual’s with depression Lozano noticed that parts of the brain are shut down, which is the blue areas located in the picture above. These blue areas are areas involved in motivation, drive and decision making. The red parts are the sadness areas of the brain, which are often hyperactive in individual’s with depression. When placing the electrodes in the “sadness” areas, Lozano and his team were able to “turn down” the red “sadness” areas and “turn up” the blue “motivation and drive” areas of the brain. Though this technology is very new, it is exciting for cognitive neurological approaches to treating mental illnesses like depression. I believe this technology is fascinating and revolutionary.

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