The effects of drugs are so detrimental that if it won’t kill a person, it can make the person suffer for the rest of his or her life. Given this, it is very important for these people to seek the best treatment available. Also, the medical field is doing everything to extend help to those who need it the most. In fact, doctors now operate on the brain to treat drug addiction.
Doctors have long used the treatment, known as deep brain stimulation, or DBS, for movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease. Now, they are performing the first clinical trial of DBS for methamphetamine addiction at the Ruijin Hospital in Shanghai, China. Patient Number One was the first patient in the study. The surgeon plans to implant a device that acts like a pacemaker for the brain. It electrically stimulates targeted areas.
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Researchers in Europe have struggled to get patients for their DBS addiction studies. In the United States, complex social and scientific questions have made it hard to move forward with studies of the treatment.
Eight registered DBS clinical trials for drug addiction are taking place around the world. Six of those are in China. That information comes from the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
Patient Number One, whose last name is Yan, said doctors told him the surgery was not dangerous. “But I still get nervous,” he said. “It’s my first time to go on the operating table.”