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Focused ultrasound used to treat depression for first time

by Aine Cryts, Contributing Reporter | October 08, 2015
Alzheimers/Neurology Medical Devices

“Unlike most interventions, we don’t expect to see any immediate results from the surgery,” he said. “It could take months to a year to see those improvements. The benefit continues to grow over time.”

Still, Cosgrove noted that this procedure isn’t curative. “[Patients] don’t get off medications. This isn’t a cure; it’s an aid to the treatment of these patients,” he said.

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Cosgrove is optimistic that focused ultrasound can be used with patients with severe depression in the United States. “There have been discussions about considering using the device here. Of course, [this] has to be a multidisciplinary approach. And it all has to have [Institutional Review Board] approval and [Federal Drug Administration] approval because it’s a new technology. I hope to be able to use focused ultrasound for patients with these indications in the future,” he said.

This clinical trial is supported by the Focused Ultrasound Foundation. Founded in 2006, the organization describes itself as the largest non-governmental source of funding for focused ultrasound research. Its goal is to “improve the lives of millions of people around the world by accelerating the development of focused ultrasound.” Patients in the clinical trial are treated with focused ultrasound using Israel-based Insightec’s Exablate Neuro System.

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