Ο opioid addiction is one of its biggest problems America in the field of health. However, some doctors researchers from the University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI) and the University of West Virginia University of Medicine (WVU) believe they are very close to addressing or at least limiting the problem. Researchers have started on clinical trial of a new solution, utilizing technology. Specifically, they use technology embedded in the brain. The goal is to limit opioid addiction in the event that all other therapeutic methods have failed.
A team of neurosurgeons from the RNI and WVU managed to implant one device, called «deep brain simulation» ή DBS, In brain an 33year old man. The DBS has tiny electrodes placed on specific parts of the brain that are associated with addiction and self-control behaviors. Researchers expect the DBS device to be able to reduce addiction by sending specific stimuli. It should also monitor the patient's desire for opioids in real time to help researchers understand many things about addiction.
According to a WVU study, 2017 recorded many deaths due to opioids in West Virginia. Specifically, West Virginia is the region with the most deaths due to this particular form of US addiction.
At times, many treatment options have emerged that are less invasive. For example, they are suggested alternatives to opioids to relieve chronic pain patients. However, there are some patients who do not respond to these treatments. Therefore, one high-tech solution, such as a DBS device can be helpful.
The researchers will initially test the new device on four participants who have already undergone various treatments and programs and are still addicted. The research team is experienced in using this technology as it is already using it to treat other disorders, such as epilepsy and coercive disorder.
Using the DBS device is for sure the last solution. However, if the clinical trial results in positive results, then we will have one an effective approach to treating opioid addiction, when all other treatments fail.