London: A small headset created by scientists can zap depression or epilepsy when you are asleep. It comprises two square, sticky pads, attached to either side of the forehead, just above a major nerve in the brain.

These pads are wired with a mobile phone-sized box that sits at the waist. The box generates a small electrical pulse that lasts 30 seconds and is followed 30 seconds later by another pulse.

The pulses stimulate the trigeminal nerve and can reduce the number and severity of epileptic seizures as lowering depression. The procedure, called Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation, was created by University of California neurologists.

Studies have shown that a small number of severely epileptic patients who used the gadget for a year saw their number of seizures drop by an average of 60 per cent, daily reports.

Tests on people with major depression saw their scores on the Beck Depression Inventory, a scale used to rank depression, improve significantly.

The device, known as Monarch, was further developed by the medical devices firm Neurosigma and has now been approved for use in Europe after pilot studies showed it could provide an additional treatment for patients with depression and epilepsy.


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