Deep brain stimulation graphic
Media playback is unsupported on your device

Deep brain stimulation hope for depression

26 January 2011 Last updated at 11:13 GMT

A medical team at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol is pioneering a new form of surgery to treat long term depression.

The technique, deep brain stimulation, involves the use of electrodes which are implanted into the brain through holes drilled in the skull.

The electrodes are attached to a battery pack which delivers small amounts of electricity to stimulate or inhibit specific areas in the brain.

The first patient to have the electrodes inserted was Sheila Cook, 62, from Torquay, who had been suffering from severe depression for nine years.

In Sheila's case the deep brain stimulation only had a short term benefit so she went on to have a second operation, called ablative surgery, to further improve her condition.

Shelia and her consultant Dr Andrea Malizia discussed the procedure on BBC Breakfast.

A programme about the surgery was featured by BBC Inside Out West available nationwide on BBC iPlayer.