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OCD Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery Success

Posted June 29, 2018 3:19 PM by IronWoman

On May 31, 2018 WNYT News Station reported on a promising brain surgery outdoing the usual therapy and medications for OCD patients. Twenty-one-year-old Erin O’Donnell recently underwent deep brain stimulation to treat what she describes as the overwhelming and paralyzing symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder.

Being diagnosed when she was only four years old, Erin retells her extreme overthinking turned panic attacks which she suffered from multiple times a day on a daily basis. Frustration took over when there seemed to be no effective treatments. Feeling that there were no other options, Erin’s psychiatrist suggested DBS, originally used to relieve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and initially approved by the FDA 10 years ago.

In further detail, the International OCD Foundation describes DBS as a procedure where surgeons implant electrodes in an overlapping part of the patient’s brain called the ventral capsule/ventral striatum (VC/VS). Originally, an OCD individual’s brain abnormally fires compulsive thoughts and actions which cause the symptoms of the disorder; DBS creates white noise when those thoughts form, allowing the brain to readjust and fire normally.

Being treated at the Albany Medical Center facility in Albany, NY, the only hospital performing this surgery between New York City and Boston, a pacemaker-like device is implanted near the collarbone. There are two leads inserted into the brain and threaded down, attaching to the neck’s fatty area. By using a phone app, patients can control their intrusive thoughts by obtaining the right dose of stimulation.

What is implanted just below the collarbone are pulse generators, or “implantable neurostimulators.” More specifically, these neurostimulators contain a microchip to control said stimulators and are powered by a battery. With the pulse generators being similar to pacemakers (just located in the brain as opposed to the heart), doctors are able to use a handheld wand and small computer to control the pulse generators through the skin; data is then recorded and collected during clinical studies.

Since its use in the mid 1980’s, many individuals with Parkinson’s and like Erin have sought after, received and found success with DBS. In fact, 61.5 percent out of 26 OCD patients responded positively to the surgery and are enjoying relief. While it certainly is not a cure-all, DBS helps those suffering breathe a little more freely every day.

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Guru
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#1

Re: OCD Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery Success

06/29/2018 3:39 PM

What an encouraging story -- and yet another example of a medical use for a smartphone. I've been paying more attention to the role smartphones play in helping people take charge of their own health, delivering needed care in underdeveloped countries, communicating with doctors and so on. Amazing. A diabetic friend of mine who'd postponed getting a smartphone finally took the plunge earlier this year when her doctor told her about a new way to test for blood sugar. No more sticking a finger; instead some sort of reader, infrared maybe, sends the information to the smartphone.

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Commentator

Join Date: Feb 2017
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#2
In reply to #1

Re: OCD Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery Success

06/29/2018 11:28 PM

Pretty promising. Maybe, it could help religious people too. Religion, being a form of OCD Perform special rituals, chant magical words, to keep bad things from happening. Sound familiar? :)

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Power-User

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Brecksville, OH, USA
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#3
In reply to #1

Re: OCD Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery Success

06/30/2018 9:47 AM

Yep! Smartphones [like email or the Internet] can be used for good or ill; it all depends on the user.

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