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Brit nurse first person to be 'cured' of depression by pioneering surgery

January 25, 2011 - London

A British nurse has become the first person in the world to be cured of depression from neurosurgery.

Sheila Cook suffered for more than a decade with debilitating depression, which left her suicidal and often unable to feed, or cloth herself.

But now the 62-years-old is beginning to enjoy life again after pioneering treatment was offered to her in Bristol.

Cook - whose illness had stopped responding to conventional treatments such as antidepressants - was offered deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the first trial in the world that stimulates two different parts of the brain.

Although DBS provided some temporary response, she relapsed and went on to be the first to have further advanced neurosurgery called an "Anterior Cingulotomy", which was carried out in early 2010.

Since having the treatments Cook said her life has changed and she feels happy for the first time in 10 years.

"The effects were remarkable. Within a few weeks my life hanged," The Telegraph quoted Cook as saying,

DBS consists of inserting thin wires in the brain that are connected to a matchbox sized "pacemaker" inserted under the skin that provides constant electric stimulation.

The effects are to inhibit and stimulate brain circuits that are either too active or underactive. These brain circuits are known to be involved with the regulation and control of emotion.


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