A Man in China Had Electrodes Embedded in His Brain to Treat His Meth Addiction. How Might It Work?

A man in China who invested years fighting a methamphetamine fixation has had a gadget embedded into his cerebrum to treat his addiction, as per news reports.

The man is a member in one of the world’s first clinical preliminaries to utilize deep brain stimulation (DBS) to treat drug addiction, as indicated by The Independent. Over a half year following the surgery at Shanghai’s Ruijin Hospital, he remains drug-free.

Yet, what is DBS, and for what reason are a few specialists swinging to it in endeavors to treat addiction?

DBS includes surgically embedding a pacemaker-like gadget into a particular region of the cerebrum, said Dr. Ashesh Mehta, director of epilepsy surgery at Northwell Health’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center in Great Neck, New York. An electrical current goes through the gadget, delivering tiny electrical shocks to the targeted area.

In theory, “in patients with drug addiction, the electrical current targets the area of the brain that controls cravings, thereby reducing the need for drugs,” said Mehta, who was not included with the Chinese man’s case. This zone of the brain is called the nucleus accumbens.

DBS has been endorsed in the U.S. to treat neurological disorders , for example, epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease; notwithstanding, utilizing it to treat drug addiction has been fairly controversial. Albeit creature studies have demonstrated promising outcomes, commentators of DBS treatment for drug addiction are hesitant to advocate its utilization with human subjects, as per The Independent. They contend that the treatment does not address the interchange of biological, social and psychological factors that make up addictive behavior.

All things considered, the methodology has gotten the consideration of specialists in the U.S. who are frantically looking for new and successful treatments for addiction after others have failed. In excess of 70,000 Americans died from medication overdoses in 2017, including those from unlawful medications and remedy narcotics — a twofold increment since 2007, as per the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

With an end goal to decrease passings because of drug addiction, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has endorsed a DBS preliminary for narcotic enslavement at the West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, The Independent detailed. The preliminary, driven by Dr. Ali Rezai, the institute’s director, is slated to start as ahead of schedule as June.

All inclusive, there are eight registered DBS clinical preliminaries for drug addiction, as indicated by, a database from the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Six are situated in China, one is in France and one is in Germany.

In light of the developing medication plague in the U.S., Mehta agreed that scientists need to investigate new treatment techniques for addiction. DBS, in any case, is only a piece of a far reaching treatment plan, he said. “As with epilepsy, DBS is one component of treatment for drug addiction,” Mehta told Live Science, adding that it is a surgical complement to both medical and behavioral therapies.

As with any surgery, there are risks, and DBS is no exception, he added. “The primary risks are bleeding, infection and stroke,” Mehta said, “but the overall risk is lower in a young person in otherwise good health.”