Vagus nerve stimulation for depression – does it work?

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Vagus nerve stimulation for depression – does it work?

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About 21 million adults in the U.S. suffer from depression, a serious health condition that can cause pain, despair, and even suicide. Some people get relief through psychotherapy, medication, or other treatments. Others try one remedy after another, but nothing seems to work. In 2005, the FDA approved a radical new option for treatment-resistant depression, vagus nerve stimulation (VNS). Initially developed for epilepsy, VNS uses a surgically-implanted device to send electrical impulses to the left vagus nerve, which winds throughout the body and connects to the brain. Surgery for depression may be extreme, but VNS promised hope to people who were drowning. But what if hundreds of thousands of people were drowning, and the oxygen came with a $25,000 price tag? What if the rescue device had been tested – and had never proved better than treading water and crossing your fingers? The device-maker, Cyberonics, says VNS has “long-term benefits,” “efficacy that improves over time and is sus

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About 21 million adults in the U.S. suffer from depression, a serious health condition that can cause pain, despair, and even suicide. Some people get relief through psychotherapy, medication, or other treatments. Others try one remedy after another, but nothing seems to work. In 2005, the FDA approved a radical new option for treatment-resistant depression, vagus nerve stimulation (VNS). Initially developed for epilepsy, VNS uses a surgically-implanted device to send electrical impulses to the left vagus nerve, which winds throughout the body and connects to the brain. Surgery for depression may be extreme, but VNS promised hope to people who were drowning. But what if hundreds of thousands of people were drowning, and the oxygen came with a $25,000 price tag? What if the rescue device had been tested – and had never proved better than treading water and crossing your fingers? The device-maker, Cyberonics, says VNS has “long-term benefits,” “efficacy that improves over time and is sus

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