The mobile phone sized gadget is wired up to two electrodes that are stuck to the forehead at bedtime. The current generated is so mild that sleep is rarely disturbed.
Throughout the night, the device then transmits weak electrical currents through the electrodes and into a nerve running just beneath the skin above the eyes.
Called the trigeminal nerve, it extends deep into the brain and experiments show that applying a mild electrical charge can have ­powerful healing effects, reports the
The technique of trigeminal nerve, stimulation is already used to ease facial pain in patients affected by neuralgia, a condition where sudden stabbing pains can strike the nerves in the head and face.
But the latest research by a team of experts at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) in the US suggests stimulating nerves in the forehead could help thousands more people affected by depression.
At the end of the experiment, patients reported 70 per cent reduction in their symptoms, including better moods, more energy, sharper memory and no suicidal thoughts.
If ongoing tests are successful, the device could be available in the next two to three years.