The Role of the Habenula in Depression
The habenula not only controls the dopaminergic system, but it also modulates the seroonergic system, by connections from the habenula to the raphe nucleus. In a recent report one of our collaborators, Fritz Henn from Brookhaven National Laboratory, used a deep brain stimulation electrode placed in the habenula of a depressed subject that was medication resistant. The patient improved markedly, until she had a bike accident and got depressed again. In the hospital, they found that the accident had disconnected the electrode, they conencted back and she improved again (Sartorius et al, Biol Psych 2010). We are studying the habenula of depressed subjects before and after treatment to see whether we can predict treatment outcome based on habenular activity.