LATEST UPDATES » Vol 23, No 10, October 2019 – Disruptive Urban Farming — Microbes, Plasmids, and Recycling       » Chinese scientist find new possibilities in dengue virus control       » 50 young scientists awarded with the inaugural XPLORER PRIZE       » Entering the China market to provide regional support       » Science, Tech, and policies convene for a sustainable future      
Shanghai neurologists test brain implant to tackle drug addiction
Research on neurological technique can help to counter drug addiction and reduce use of methadone usage.

Ruijin Hospital in Shanghai is conducting clinical trials on applying the neurological technique called deep brain stimulation (DBS) to drug addiction. The technique, which involves the insertion of electrodes into targeted areas of the brain, has long been used to treat Parkinson’s disease and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Hospital officials said DBS could counter the body’s craving for drugs such as methamphetamine, heroin and methadone.

“There is a reward system in the brain triggered by our neural circuit and nucleus,” said Zhang Chencheng, a doctor at the hospital. “Drugs stimulate the system, and the neural circuit sends out signals of fleeting pleasure.”

DBS, he said, directly stimulates the nucleus and create the sensation of pleasure, but with passing time, the patient will no longer feel the pleasure and the body will cease craving drugs.

Sun Bomin, director of Ruijin Hospital’s functional neurosurgery department and leader of the trials, said that DBS has been proven safe in treating obsessive-compulsive disorder.

“Addiction works on the brain in a similar way,” he explained. “Patients repeatedly do things they actually don’t want to do.”

Sun’s team will monitor the condition of the drug patients for at least a year before they turn the “pacemaker” off. If a patient can steer clear of drugs for at least six months after that, the trial is considered a success.

Before being accepted for treatment, patients must undergo thorough assessments that include family background and personality.

While there are precedent cases of using DBS to treat methamphetamine and heroin addiction in Europe and the U.S, Ruijin Hospital is believed to be the first in the world to use DBS to try and cure methadone addiction.

Methadone is a drug used in China and many countries around the world to replace heroin in rehabilitation programs for addicts who want to come clean. There are 13 methadone clinics in Shanghai offering the drug for free to addicts on a controlled basis. Such treatment allows authorities to keep tabs on addicts and releases addicts from the necessity of turning to crime to finance their habits.

The problem is that methadone itself is addictive and its withdrawal symptoms are more excruciating than those for heroin.

Despite some initial successes with DBS treatment, doctors at Ruijin Hospital said it’s hard to find patients. The trial project was designed for 20 patients, but after two years, only seven people have participated.

“Many just can’t make up their minds,” trial leader Sun said. “Others failed personality tests.”

Drug addicts may have grounds for some concern. The effects of DBS on the brain aren’t fully understood yet. In the US, at least two projects that tried to treat alcoholism with DBS were dropped when they couldn’t justify associated risks, according to The Associated Press.

“It would be fantastic if there were something where we could flip a switch, but it’s probably fanciful at this stage,” Adrian Carter, head of neuroscience at Monash University in Melbourne, told AP about applying DBS to drug addiction.

Last year, Sun’s team published a paper about the death of a patient from a drug overdose three months after DBS surgery.

Source: Shine.cn

Click here for the complete issue.

news The Proteona Oncology Challenge using ESCAPETM Single Cell Proteogenomic Analysis
news New computational fluid dynamics solution for modeling aerosol mixtures in biomedical and environmental research
news Medial Fair Thailand opened on 11th September 2019 with a focus on future-proofing Thailand's healthcare industry to meet the challenges and opportunities of the next decade
news Biofuel Producers and Users to Convene in Singapore for Global Biofuels Summit
Asia Pacific Biotech News

APBN Editorial Calendar 2019
Taiwan Medical tourism
Marijuana as medicine — Legal marijuana will open up scientific research
Driven by curiosity
Career developments for researchers
What's cracking — Antibodies in ostrich eggs
Clinical trials — What's in a name?
Traditional Chinese medicine in modern healthcare — Integrating both worlds
Digitalization vs Digitization — Exploring Emerging Trends in Healthcare
Healthy Ageing — How Science is chipping in
Disruptive Urban Farming — Microbes, Plasmids, and Recycling
Editorial calendar is subjected to changes.
About Us
Available issues
Editorial Board
Letters to Editor
Instructions to Authors
Advertise with Us
World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd.
5 Toh Tuck Link, Singapore 596224
Tel: 65-6466-5775
Fax: 65-6467-7667
» For Editorial Enquiries:
   biotech_edit@wspc.com or Ms Deborah Seah
» For Subscriptions, Advertisements &
   Media Partnerships Enquiries:
Copyright© 2019 World Scientific Publishing Co Pte Ltd  •  Privacy Policy