Depression can be overcome by neurostimulation

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Depression can be managed without prescription drugs that treat only symptoms. For example, the neural stimulator BasisNeuro helps with the causes of stress. According to statistics, about a third of students and graduate students are potentially at risk of developing a mental disorder, such as depression. Polls revealed that 51% of respondents experienced at least two symptoms (out of five) of mental health problems. 32% of the respondents reported at least four symptoms, which clearly indicated a pronounced psychological disorder. The life of a graduate student is hard because they have to extract valuable bits of knowledge by the sweat of their brow, run countless experiments and sometimes deal with data acquisition and processing around the clock. It is clear that the efficient activity of a researcher’s brain is the key to successful scientific work. The symptoms of depression include: a feeling of constant mental stress, frustration, sleeping disorders, and low energy.

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According to the results, demanding job requirements and lack of tangible outcomes also increase depression. Graduate students from the University of Ghent wrote an open letter reporting mental health problems as serious threats to well-being and career, having deleterious effects in the long run. Natan Vanderford, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, highlights what he had long suspected in his summary of the study of mental health in students: “Working conditions and career prospects play an important role in maintaining the psychological comfort and activity of students.”

As is known, depression is a reversible condition associated with a temporary change in the level of the main brain neurotransmitters, the chemical compounds serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine, which regulate mental activity. The modern medical approach attempts to normalize the mental state using antidepressants but assumes the use of chemical preparations. Alternative methods to manage depression and restore normal brain performance are non-invasive stimulation through a magnetic field and electric current. The methods used for transcranial (i.e. cerebral cortex) brain stimulation have proven both in medical practice and in neurocognitive studies that have shown their pronounced antidepressant efficacy. The most popular methods include non-invasive brain stimulation by direct current, which forms and restores the natural level of neurotransmitters in the nervous system — primarily dopamine, which supports neurons activity and interaction.

Besides, physical activity that rapidly intensifies brain activity for a long time will help to cope with depression, helping the neurons work in the best performance mode. The resulting effects are comparable with the results of drug therapy and methods of non-invasive brain stimulation.

Getting back to the problems of novice researchers, the authors of the study explain: “Besides, an inspiring and motivating mentor can significantly reduce the risk of depression. Interest in their work and academic career from their mentor generally produces a feeling of meaningfulness of actions and progress, which is very important in scientific work”. The mentor should treat the student seriously and learn to detect signs of a potential emotional and mental disorder. Gail Kinman, a professor at the University of Bedfordshire in the United Kingdom, who acted as a reviewer for the article, agrees: “Scientific mentors should monitor students who isolate themselves, seem alarming or miss deadlines. Such students need timely help and support.” In this regard, psychologists are well aware that the attention and care of colleagues, relatives and friends relieves depression three to four times faster.

Although these results were obtained from a relatively small sample of 3,659 university students in Flanders (Belgium), 90% of them studying the humanities, they are nevertheless an important addition to the study of mental health problems. These conclusions are in many respects similar to the results of other studies conducted around the world.

The study was published in the journal Wellness and Health.
http://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2017/04/phd-students-face-significant-mental-health-challenges

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https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2017.00091/full#h10

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