for people ages 22-70 (full criteria)
study started
estimated completion



The goal of the study is to address the unmet need of TRD patients by identifying brain networks critical for treating depression and to use next generation precision DBS with steering capability to engage these targeted networks. The study's goal will be achieved through 3 specific aims: 1. Demonstrate device capability to selectively and predictably engage distinct brain networks 2. Delineate depression-relevant networks and demonstrate behavioral changes with network-targeted stimulation 3. Demonstrate that chronic DBS using steered, individualized targeting is feasible and safe for reducing depressive symptoms


Treatment-resistant depression (TRD) is a major worldwide burden. Major depression has a lifetime prevalence of ~15% across developed countries. Up to a third of patients fail to respond adequately to evidence-based treatments, including pharmacological, behavioral, and electroconvulsive therapy. The investigators employ an innovative approach, including subacute invasive neurophysiological monitoring with which they aim to gain insight into the networks underlying depression symptomatology, confirm the ability to predict the effects of precision DBS on network activity, and harmonize these insights to implement network-guided DBS for TRD.


Major Depressive Disorder Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) MDD Neuromodulation Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) DBS Electrophysiology Imaging Depression Depressive Disorder Depressive Disorder, Major Directional Deep Brain Stimulation


You can join if…

Open to people ages 22-70

  1. Men and women (non-pregnant) between ages 22 and 70;
  2. DSM-5 diagnosis (assessed by Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-5 Axis I disorders SCID-5) of major depression disorder (MDD) as the primary diagnosis. A current major depressive episode (MDE), recurrent or single episode with first episode before age 60, secondary to nonpsychotic unipolar major depressive disorder;
  3. Chronic illness with current MDE ≥24 months duration and/or recurrent illness with at least a total of 2 lifetime episodes (including current episode >12 months);
  4. Treatment resistance (defined by criteria on the Antidepressant Treatment History Form

ATHF): Failure (i.e. persistence of the major depressive episode) to respond to a minimum of four adequate depression treatments from at least two different treatment categories (e.g. SSRIs, SNRIs, TCAs, other antidepressants, lithium-addition, irreversible MAOIs, antidepressant augmentation with an atypical antipsychotic medication);

  1. Previous trial of Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) (lifetime): either did not respond, relapsed, poorly tolerated or refused. If refused, will discuss reasons and ensure subject understands relative risks of ECT versus DBS. We will try to enrich sample with patients who had previously shown response to ECT (or another intervention) that was partial or un-sustained;
  2. Symptom severity for Screening: Hamilton Depression Rating Scale-17 item (HDRS17) ≥20;
  3. The HDRS17 must remain greater than or equal to 20 on two separate assessments (at initial screening and 1 week before surgery), over a 1-month period;
  4. Symptom severity for Outcome: Montgomery Asberg Rating Scale (MADRS) ≥27 to be met at assessment one-week pre-op;
  5. Lifetime exposure to minimal 6 weeks of psychotherapy without sustained response;
  6. . Normal brain MRI within 3 months of surgery;
  7. . Stable antidepressant medication regimen for the month preceding surgery;
  8. . Modified mini-mental state examination (MMSE) score ≥ 24;
  9. . Normal thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level within 12 months of study entry;
  10. . Other medical conditions must be stable for at least 6 months;
  11. . Able and willing to give informed consent and agree to attend regular clinic visits for at least 12 months following surgery;
  12. . Able to have a treating psychiatrist or close relative present for discussions about the study and co-sign informed consent;
  13. . Willingness to sign Treatment Contract

You CAN'T join if...

  1. DSM-5 Axis I Disorders: any lifetime history of psychotic disorder (e.g., schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder);
  2. Bipolar disorder with rapid cycling and history of manic episode requiring hospitalization within the past 5 years;
  3. Clinically significant Cluster A or B personality disorder;
  4. Active alcohol or substance use disorder within 6 months, excluding nicotine;
  5. Urine drug test positive for illicit drugs;
  6. Current substantial suicidal risk as defined by a plan or clear immediate intent for self-harm, or made a suicide attempt within the last year; or as identified as C-SSRS;
  7. Neurological/Medical condition that makes the patient, in the opinion of the surgeon, a poor surgical candidate (e.g., progressive neurodegenerative disorder, significant cardiopulmonary disorder, need for chronic anticoagulation);
  8. Any history of seizure disorder, hemorrhagic stroke, or has high risk of seizure (history of congenital malformation, history of brain injury, neuro-developmental disorder, currently taking medication that is known to lower seizure threshold, or other factors that predispose seizures);
  9. Any medical contraindication to surgery such as infection;
  10. . Coagulopathy: Bleeding propensity and/or one of the following: INR > 1.5; prolonged activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) ≥ 45 sec; platelet count < 100×103/uL;
  11. . Uncontrolled hypertension (systolic > 185 mmHg and/or diastolic > 110 mmHg), demonstrated on each of three repeated measurements taken within one hour regardless of whether or not the patient is taking antihypertensive medications.
  12. . Participation in another drug, device, or biological trial within 90 days;
  13. . Current implanted stimulation devices including cardiac pacemakers, defibrillators, and neurostimulators including spinal cord stimulators and deep brain stimulators;
  14. . Pregnant or has plans to become pregnant in the next 24 months;
  15. . Anticipated need for MRI;
  16. . Need for Diathermy;
  17. . Chronic use of anticoagulant or anti-platelet agents that cannot be safely stopped for a sufficient duration (minimum 2.5 weeks) in the peri-operative period;
  18. . Any Psychiatric/Neurological/Medical condition that makes the subject, in the opinion of the Investigator, a poor candidate.


  • University of California, Los Angeles
    Los Angeles California 90095 United States
  • Baylor College of Medicine
    Houston Texas 77030 United States


in progress, not accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
Baylor College of Medicine
Study Type
Last Updated