Brain Implant to Treat Eating Disorders, Parkinsons and Major Depressions

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Anorexic Patient for DBSThings were getting worse and worse for Kim Rollins from Ontario so that her mother was starting to make plans for a funeral. Traditional therapies weren’t helping her chronic anorexia. In this situation, Rollins offered to be a volunteer for a revolutionary treatment.

This treatment consisted in deep brain stimulation (DBS). Now, with the help of the “brain pacemaker” her disease was successfully treated. The success suggests that deep brain stimulation could be used to help other patients with similar conditions.

The therapy was the work of a team of neurosurgeons and psychiatrists from Toronto who managed to treat six women. Three of them gained weight and all of them have reported an improvement in their moods only 9 months after the operation. One of the patients said “I am now 120 pounds – which is a healthy body weight for a person my age and height of five feet, 21/2 inches”. Before the brain operation she had 90 pounds. And maybe what’s even more important is the fact that she has now improved levels of depression, anxiety, obsessive behavior which made her put her own life at risk by taking different excessive diets.

The truth is that the most interesting thing related to this therapy is the fact that it isn’t directly connected to anorexia, but to the mood disorders associated with it.

However, the treatment means that the patients would live with an electrode implanted in their brains. It is connected with the aid of certain wires under the skin (in the scalp, the neck and the upper part of the chest)to a battery which can be replaced and which is implanted under the collar bone.

The device is working similar to a cardiac pacemaker, sending a constant electric signals to a certain area in the brain.

The treatment is working because the brain is similar to a complex electric circuit. Neurological disorders appear when this electrical impulses are not working properly. When an electrical signal is sent to the appropriate place, the surgeons may compensate for the part of the brain which has issues.

Deep Brain Stimulation is also used for treating Parkinson or severe depression.

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