Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is an FDA-approved treatment for essential tremor and Parkinson's disease. In DBS treatment, electrical pulses are delivered to brain tissue through surgically implanted electrical leads powered by implanted electronics. DBS is now being investigated in clinical trials as a possible treatment for other diseases and neuropsychiatric disorders. Though DBS shows promising results in many applications, the fundamental mechanism by which it works is largely unknown.
In collaboration with academia, LLNL is investigating the underlying mechanisms by which DBS works to treat major depressive disorder. Our team is developing a multifunctional device capable of interfacing both electrically and chemically with neural tissue. With this unique capability, DBS will be studied in rodent models of depression using electrophysiological and neurochemical techniques. With greater understanding of how the treatment is affecting brain communication and function, we hope to improve the efficacy and use of DBS as a treatment method.