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Electric headset for treating depression recommended as widespread treatment after NHS trial | UK News

An electric headset for treating depression has been recommended as a more widespread treatment for depression after a successful NHS trial. But it’s not yet known what the long term benefits of the device are.

An NHS trial has found that an innovative electric headset for treating depression is an effective way of reducing the symptoms, and has recommended its more widespread use within the health service.

The headset from Flow Neuroscience was given to patients with depression by their GP to wear for 30 minutes daily for a period of six weeks, as a non-invasive way to manage the condition.

The study found that it was an “effective depression treatment”, by using a brain stimulation technique known as transcranial direct current stimulation, or tDCS.

The device delivers a weak direct electrical current to the front of the brain, to stimulate the areas responsible for emotional expression.

The research found over 58% of people saw improvements within six weeks, and one in three went into remission with no depression symptoms.

Flow Neuroscience says it’s the “first and only medically approved at home treatment for depression”, and it can be used alongside other therapies like talking therapies or drugs.

James Maynard, who has struggled with depression and is using the headset

It was trialled on patients by Northamptonshire NHS Foundations Trust, but it can also be bought privately for £399.

One of those patients is James Maynard, who has struggled with depression prior to using the headset.

He told Sky News: “I was just so low, I didn’t really have any goals and would just go through the emotions of day-to-day life.

“Going to work, coming home from the children, going to sleep. If I could sleep.”

After just a few weeks of wearing the device every day for 30 minutes, he says his symptoms noticeably improved.

“I was starting to sleep a bit better. The wife even said I was happier. I wasn’t waking up grumpy. So there was obviously something happening.”

James Maynard, who has struggled with depression and is using the headset
Image:
James Maynard, who has struggled with depression and is using the headset

One of the NHS Trial Leads is Dr Azhar Zafar, who told Sky News that patients report having to use fewer medications as a result of the device.

He says: “It’s a new option because for years and years, we will have only the option of medication or a cognitive behavioural therapy. This method of treatment is an additional treatment.”

It’s not yet known, however, what the long term benefits of the device are on depression past six weeks.

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GP Dr Anita Raja told Sky News that “when it comes to mental health one of the most important things is understanding what the relapse of the patient may be once the treatment stops or is withheld”.

She says this device is promising, but she wants to know “what happens when the patient stops using the device – do they become depressed again?”.

Police now treating fire at Britain’s ‘wonkiest’ pub The Crooked House as arson | UK News

Police say they are investigating a fire which gutted a historic pub as arson.

A blaze caused extensive damage at The Crooked House near Dudley, an 18th-century building, on Saturday evening, two weeks after it was sold by brewer Marston’s to a private firm.

Up to 30 firefighters were needed to tackle the blaze at the pub in Himley.

The pub became widely regarded as Britain’s “wonkiest” due to one side being significantly lower than the other, caused by the effects of nearby mining.

The remainder of the building was demolished by a mechanical digger on Monday, despite South Staffordshire Council saying it had permitted only the top floor to be demolished for safety reasons.

The Crooked House before the fire
Image:
The Crooked House before the fire

Its total demolition prompted Dudley North MP Marco Longhi to question why police did not intervene.

The council said it also was exploring whether the total demolition constituted a breach of the law.

Staffordshire Police said in a statement: “Our investigation into a fire at The Crooked House on Himley Road last Saturday, 5 August, continues as we try to understand the circumstances, which we are now treating as arson.

People inspect the rubble remains as they gather at The Crooked House

“We’re conducting a joint investigation with colleagues at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and are liaising closely with their fire investigators, who have confirmed that the cause of the fire cannot currently be determined.

“However, police are following up on a number of lines of enquiry.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Tom Chisholm added: “We understand the significance of this much-loved building and the upset and anger felt by many, so want to reassure you we’re doing all we can to understand more about what happened, and who was responsible.”

The burnt out remains of The Crooked House pub near Dudley. A fire gutted the 18th century pub just days after it was sold to a private buyer. Firefighters and police were called to the pub in Himley, West Midlands, at 10.45pm on Saturday. The blaze was extinguished and no-one was reported to have been injured, Staffordshire Police said. Picture date: Monday August 7, 2023.
Image:
The burnt out remains of the 18th century pub

He warned against “unhelpful” misinformation “circulating within communities and online” and said police are “trying to provide accurate and timely updates, but this takes time”.

Police said following an examination by a specialist fire investigator, into the cause of the incident they “believe the fire may have been started deliberately”.

The burnt out remains of The Crooked House pub near Dudley. A fire gutted the 18th century pub just days after it was sold to a private buyer. Firefighters and police were called to the pub in Himley, West Midlands, at 10.45pm on Saturday. The blaze was extinguished and no-one was reported to have been injured, Staffordshire Police said. Picture date: Monday August 7, 2023.

Officers and specialist accelerant detection dogs visited the site on Wednesday to investigate the grounds.

In a letter written by Mr Longhi, he questioned who was responsible for the demolition of the building and asked whether the police were notified before it took place, adding that the “public is extremely angry”.

In their response on Wednesday, DCS Chisholm said: “There are certain things that police and fire do not have the powers to deal with, the decision around partial demolition of the building, for example, when the scene was handed back to the owner”.

People inspect the rubble remains as they gather at The Crooked House

Since its demolition, Andy Street, the mayor of the West Midlands, said that local authorities will “get to the truth” and that he will continue to “keep the pressure on for a rebuild”.

It follows an online petition, set up by long-time regular Paul Turner, titled ‘Save The Crooked House’. The petition has attracted more than 13,000 signatures so far.

‘Encouraging’ results in trial of psychedelic drug for treating depression | UK News

A psychedelic drug which causes half-an-hour trips has shown some success in treating depression, early trial results suggest.

Early evidence from a small trial suggests the powerful pharmaceutical-grade hallucinogenic – known as intravenous DMT, or SPL026 – could improve symptoms of moderate to severe depression when used in conjunction with therapy.

According to un-peer reviewed data released by biotechnology company Small Pharma, 14 participants out of 34 were in remission within three months – nine of whom (64%) sustained this up to six months.

Remission is defined as having no or very mild depression.

Dr Carol Routledge, chief medical and scientific officer at Small Pharma, said scientists were “increasingly encouraged” by SPL026’s potential.

“A single dose in conjunction with therapy demonstrated a rapid and robust antidepressant effect after one week,” she said.

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The first part of the study involved 34 patients being given the drug during a two-and-a-half-hour clinical session with a therapist. A supportive therapy session followed which helped participants process their trip.

This was compared with a group who were given a placebo drug.

The second part of the study followed participants for a further three months after being administered the drug, and then a further six months after the study had come to an end in an assessment of the drug’s durability.

A total of 25 participants from both treatment groups completed the six-month patient follow-up.

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Small Pharma hoped the trial could offer value to struggling healthcare systems that face challenges with patients who struggle to take antidepressants on a daily basis.

Dr James Rucker, consultant psychiatrist and senior clinical lecturer at King’s College London, said trials at this early stage generally cannot show whether a treatment is effective – but the results were “encouraging” and could “pave the way” for further trials.

Still, he said it was “not possible to gauge whether participants may have improved for reasons unrelated to the drug and therapy provided”.