Deep brain stimulation for psychiatric disorders — state of the art

  • T. E. Schläpfer
  • B. H. Bewernick
Part of the Advances and Technical Standards in Neurosurgery book series (NEUROSURGERY, volume 34)


A substantial number of patients suffering from severe neuropsychiatric disorders do not respond to conventional therapeutic approaches. Results from functional neuroimaging research and the development of neuromodulatory treatments lead to novel putative strategies. Recently, one of those methods, deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been applied in selected patient with major depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and major depression.

We summarize in this review, the state of art of knowledge about the neurobiology of depression and OCD and historical treatment methods. Principles of DBS and reasons for the use of DBS in neuropsychiatry are discussed. Different targets have been chosen in a hypothesis-guided way and first results have demonstrated that DBS might be able to modulate dysfunctional neural networks in both major depression and OCD. Although DBS is a unique and promising method for otherwise treatment resistant psychiatric patients, mandatory treatment standards have to be applied for patient and target selection. Therefore, a distinct focus of this review lies on ethical aspects for DBS in neuropsychiatric disorders.


Deep brain stimulation (DBS) depression obsessive compulsive disorders neuroethical aspects 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. E. Schläpfer
    • 1
    • 2
  • B. H. Bewernick
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Brain Stimulation Group, Department of Psychiatry and PsychotherapyUniversity Hospital BonnGermany
  2. 2.Departments of Psychiatry and Mental HealthThe Johns Hopkins UniversityUSA

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