Saturday, July 5, 2008

Deep Brain Stimulation: A Real Hope for Help?

Over the last few months, the media has been abuzz about the promise of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) for the treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, depression and maybe more. This "brain pacemaker" sends electrical stimulation to parts of the brain affected by depression and OCD, with remarkable results. The treatment has been used with stunning results in patients with Parkinson's Disease.
In a new story dated July 3, Dr. Douglas Anderson, a neurosurgeon and professor at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine who has been among the pioneers of DBS, offered mini case studies of patients with Parkinson's, OCD, body dysmorphic disorder, and severe headaches. It's interesting to note that, according to this story, about 40,000 people worldwide have undergone this treatment and the cost can exceed $50,000. The caveat, here, is that DBS is an adjunct treatment, not a cure, and it is reserved for only those with the most severe cases that don't respond to other treatments.
The implications for this are astounding. Could this be a kind of built-in Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) system? It will be interesting to watch as DBS develops.Sphere: Related Content

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