A Review of Brain Stimulation Treatments for Late-Life Depression

Daniel M Blumberger, Jonathan H Hsu, Zafiris J Daskalakis
Current Treatment Options in Psychiatry 2015, 2 (4): 413-421
Opinion Statement Recurrence, relapse and resistance to first-line therapies are common and pervasive issues in the treatment of depression in older adults. As a result, brain stimulation modalities are essential treatment options in this population. The majority of data for the effectiveness of brain stimulation modalities comes from electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) studies. Current ECT trials are focused on prolonging response after a successful course and mitigating the cognitive adverse effects. Newer forms of brain stimulation have emerged; unfortunately, as with most advances in medicine older adults have not been systematically included in clinical trials. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation has demonstrated efficacy in younger adults and there is emerging data to support its use in late-life depression (LLD). It will be imperative that older adults be included in future transcranial direct current stimulation and magnetic seizure therapy clinical trials. Unclear efficacy results are a concern for both vagus nerve stimulation and deep brain stimulation.

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