Do you suffer from depression? Well buck up little camper, because the FDA has just approved a cure for it! I bet you want to know more, don’t you?
It’s a device that is surgically implanted into your upper chest, and then wires are threaded into your neck. Add a couple of AAs, and the device stimulates a nerve in your brain, curing your depression. See? Easy! It’s neat, like you’re a cyborg! Who doesn’t want that?
Of course there are some drawbacks — there’s the possibility of voice alteration, increased cough, shortness of breath, neck pain and difficulty swallowing. And rarely, there might have been a few reports of death, heart problems and vocal cord paralysis. But that’s rare!
Oh, and there’s one other thing. There’s only been one clinical trial. And it failed. Miserably. Also, the entire FDA committee of scientists rejected the device, but Dr. Daniel G. Schultz, director of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, singlehandedly overruled them.
The device was originally used to control epilepsy. The company that makes the device got reports back from patients claiming that their moods had been altered. Maybe, just maybe (I AM NOT A DOCTOR) this had something to do with the patients being HAPPY that they weren’t so damn epileptic anymore. That’s just a stab in the dark. Here’s how I see the conversation happening at Cyberonics, the company that makes the device:
YOUNG EXECUTIVE #1: Hey Tad, I just got this letter from one of our epileptic patients. He says the device works great, and he’s much happier now.
YOUNG EXECUTIVE #2: Eureeka Chad, our device enhanced the mood of that patient! Let’s implant our devices in hundreds of depressed people and CHANGE THE WORLD!
Thank god they don’t make anal suppositories.
According to the New York Times, the company implanted the devices in
235 depressed patients and turned the machines on in half of them. After three months, the two groups were equally depressed. The trial had failed.
It’s not made clear how they managed to turn on exactly half of 235 machines, but let’s set that aside for a second because it gets better. I mean worse.
Cyberonics then turned the devices on in all 235 patients and determined that 30 percent showed significant improvement after six months or more.
YOUNG EXECUTIVE #1: You know what went wrong, Tad?
YOUNG EXECUTIVE #2: Yes, Chad. That pesky control group! Let’s be rid of it at once!
FATHERLY CEO TYPE: Good job boys, million dollar bonuses for everyone! Let’s go dig up the corpse of Sir Isaac Newton and perform horrible acts upon it!
Gah, now I’m all depressed.