Treating Psychiatric Disorders Through Neuron Stimulation

Stimulation

Psychiatric Disorders – Deeper Understandings of Electrical Signals in Brain


It is said that 1 out of 5 veterans returning from war tend to have post-traumatic stress disorder. Their present choices for treatment are a combination of behavioural therapy together with medicine.

However, the same does not address the electrical circuitry at work in the brain which the scientist anticipates would offer a much accurate choice for treatment. Dr Darin Dougherty, director of the division of neurotherapeutics and the department of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital had informed that they have focused on the chemical side since the mid-20th century, they had begun to develop the first medications which had affected neurotransmitters and the other side, the electrical had been less exploited as a treatment prospective.

Dougherty together with the others have been working to bring about the change. Scientists have been working to build new ways of treating psychiatric disorders like PTSD, through deeper understandings of the electrical signals in our brains, with finance from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA. Justin Sanchez, director of DARPA’s biological technologies office stated that what really boils down to is precision interaction with neurons of the brain that are involved in neuropsychiatric illness.

Deep-Brain Stimulation


Patients have already been utilising early models like deep-brain stimulation which has been approved by FDA for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease symptoms and as obsessive compulsive disorder. Liss Murphy who had a first-hand experience informs that she had a deep-brain stimulation device implanted 10 years ago for the treatment of severe depression and now calls it a lifesaver after an incidence of depression which had begun in 2004. Murphy had informed that nothing could shift it and she had a resume of around seven pages of all the drugs she had tried.

She then did 30 rounds of electroconvulsive therapy and that too did nothing and it just got worse than before. Murphy, decided to try deep-brain stimulation, out of choice, which is not FDA approved for depression which is a serious process, needing brain surgery to be put in place. Murphy had stated that brain surgery tends to sound dramatic, severe and intense. Her highest hope that day was that she would die on the table and it was going to be her last shot. She would do it and if it did not work, she could say that she had tried everything.

Medtronic – Sends Constant Electrical Charge to Brain


However, Murphy informed that it worked. The device developed by Medtronic tends to send a constant electrical charge to the brain. The latest prototypes worked on would be a closed loop system, sensing misfires amid neurons and sending remedial charges whenever essential. It could be an uphill battle and earlier studies of the current deep-brain stimulation devices had failed to show improvement in treatment-resistant depression.

However, researchers such as MGH’s Dougherty stated that they hope the next generation of devices would present a complete new set of choices for psychiatric disorders. Murphy informs that she intends wearing her device for the rest of her life. She added that the quality of life is much better and very different. Just this calmness of `OK, this is what life is like. It’s not feeling anything all the time or a complete void, I was content’.

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