Technology may prevent suicides in patients on anti-depressants - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/23/10

New technology may help prevent suicides in patients on anti-depressants

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By Karin McCay| email

Edited by Kristin Beerman | email 

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Anti-depressants are the number one prescribed drug in America and for most people, they help restore the joy of living. Studies show there is a small percentage of people taking anti-depressants, who may end up with the opposite effect, an increased desire to end their life.  Now, here's what's new.  Research psychologist Aimee Hunter, Ph.D., of UCLA is using what's called a "Qeeg" machine to measure electrical activity in the brains of patients taking antidepressants.  She has identified specific brain changes that occur within 48 hours of taking that medication.  Those who became more suicidal showed a 600% drop in brain activity compared to other patients who responded to the treatment.

"This is the first time that anyone has demonstrated or identified a change in brain function that is related to worsening suicidality," said Dr. Hunter.

Hunter hopes that within five years,  these "Qeeg" machines will be widely available in doctors' offices for use with depressed patients, especially underage patients to determine who is responding to anti-depressants, who should change to a different drug and who should stop taking them altogether.

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