Tamil Nadu Doctors Successfully Treat Alcoholism By Inserting Probe Into Brain

न्यूज़ वर्ल्ड इंडिया | 0
| July 21 , 2017 , 17:22 IST

A Coimbatore city hospital has tested a new approach to treating alcohol addiction, by performing deep brain stimulation. Three weeks later the patient is said to be recovering well and has not asked for a single sip of alcohol. The Kovai Medical Centre and Hospital (KMCH) doctors inserted a small electrode connected to a pace maker into a deep part of the brain known as the nucleus accumbence.

The patient, a businessman from Sathyamangalam is a severe alcoholic who first came to the hospital 5 years ago for alcohol de-addiction treatment.

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"We did a lot of counselling and even referred him to de-addiction programmes at Kasturba Gandhi De-addiction Centre and TTK De-addiction Centre in Chennai. He was also put on medicines like anti-booze, but he kept relapsing," KMCH psychiatrist Dr. Saravanan was quoted by Times of India as saying.

After visiting the hospital in 2013, the patient's family again approached the doctors in 2017 when his hands developed shivering, had uncontrolled movement of lips, memory loss and loss of sensation in hands and legs.

"Chronic and severe alcoholism can start damaging nerves, because it is a psychoactive substance that depresses the nervous system," said neurosurgeon Dr. Arulselvan.

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At that point, the hospital's neurosurgeons who had been using deep brain stimulation to treat other illnesses such as Parkinson's disease and Dystonia considered using the same protocol to treat the patient's severe alcoholism.

"The three-hour procedure included placing a small 1 cm long electrode in the nucleus accumbence. The electrode is connected with a thin wire to the pacemaker which is placed beneath a patient's shoulder," said Dr. S Arulselvan.

"The pacemaker constantly sends electric signals to the electrode, which stimulates chemical secretion by the brain, especially serotonin which is responsible for giving the person a sense of well-being," he said.