Article ID: ra.2020-0196
As in many Western countries, deep brain stimulation (DBS) is already being used daily in Japan to clinically treat neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, and dystonia. Additionally, in both Europe and the United States, numerous case reports as well as multicenter randomized controlled trials have examined its use for treatment-refractory mental illnesses such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and major depressive disorder. Based on a number of the reports, the European Union (EU) and the USA Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted limited approval of DBS for treatment-resistant OCD in 2009. Furthermore, a systematic review and meta-analysis in 2015 showed that DBS therapy for patients with treatment-resistant OCD had efficacy and was safe. Unlike the EU and the USA, DBS is not used to treat OCD or other psychiatric disorders in Japan, even though people with treatment-resistant OCD and their physicians and families urgently need additional treatments. This situation results from the “Resolution of total denial for psychosurgery,” which the Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology adopted in 1975. We believe that the appropriateness of using DBS for treating psychiatric disorders including OCD should be considered after thorough discussion and consideration based on accurate and objective understanding. Currently, the field of psychiatry in Japan seems to lack scientific consideration as well as scientific understanding in this area. Under these circumstances, we hope that this review article will help psychiatrists and other relevant parties in Japan to gain an accurate and scientific understanding of DBS.