Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Better life through brain stimulation

Synchronizing brain cells appears to do wonders for at least one mental disorder. Although researchers still wander in the dark, they are at least in the right house.
(MTR 02/25/2013)A brain-pacemaker helped put out-of-sync brain circuits back on track in patients with extreme forms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), reported researchers in yesterday’s Nature Neuroscience. The work could help improve treatment of severe OCD and even lead to other, less invasive new forms of treatment.

The next step, says Figee [, will be to see if he and his colleagues can use the brain activity measures to determine if a patient’s deep-brain stimulator is working properly. An implant has several electrodes, and it can take a lot of trial and error to learn which should be active and at which pulse settings for each patient. “We still don’t really know what we do; sometimes people respond, sometimes they don’t, sometimes it takes weeks or a year trying all kinds of settings,” he says. Using the brain scanning tools in the clinic may be years away, but it is possible, says Figee. “This may help us focus on the brain synchronization that we should aim for,” he says.

tags: control, brain, science, biology, health

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