Health Team

Brain Waves Might Be Key to Choosing Antidepressant Meds

Posted June 22, 2007 6:23 p.m. EDT

Antidepressant medications don't work the same for everyone, and finding the right one can take a long time.

It can take six weeks before doctors know if a drug is working or if they need to try another one. But researchers might have discovered a major shortcut by reading a patient's mind.

Just days after a new medication is started, scientists use an EEG machine to look for subtle differences in electrical activity in patients’ brains.

Dr. Andrew Leuchter is leading an EEG study and has financial ties to the machine's manufacturer.

“We can tell whether the brain is responding in such a way that the patient will eventually get better,” Leuchter said.

Preliminary results are promising, according to WRAL’s Dr. Allen Mask. If that continues, Dr. Charles Goodstein with the NYU Medical School said it could become a valuable tool.

“If it works, you could tailor make your treatment program to the patient,” Goodstein said.