Deep brain stimulation through electrodes can halve symptoms in people with severe obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a new American scientific study shows.
This mental disorder is characterized by intrusive and persistent thoughts, along with dysfunctional and “ritualistic” behaviors. It is estimated to occur in up to 3% of the population, usually starting early in someone’s life and accompanied by severe depression and/or anxiety. In severe cases, sufferers have difficulty going to school or work. Certain medications and cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy often work well, but about one in ten patients (10%) do not respond to them at all, so other alternatives are needed.
Deep brain stimulation is done by implanting electrodes in specific areas of the brain, with the aim of regulating its abnormal electrical activity. Over the last few decades it has been used as an alternative or complementary treatment for some conditions and continues to be tested in others.
The researchers, led by Associate Professor Samir Seth of the Department of Neurosurgery at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, who made the relevant publication in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, conducted a systematic review and then -analysis of all research so far on the use of electrical brain stimulation in people with OCD.
A total of 34 clinical studies from 2005-2021 were evaluated, involving 352 people over the age of 40 with severe to extreme OCD, whose symptoms had not shown improvement with any treatment to date. The average duration of their symptoms was 24 years.
These subjects were tested with deep brain stimulation and then followed for an average of two years. The new study estimated, as reported by APE-MPE, that there was a 47% reduction in persistent symptoms – that is, almost in half – with two-thirds of patients showing a significant improvement in their condition.
Regarding accompanying depressive symptoms, almost half of the patients experienced complete remission and an additional 16% partial remission. On the other hand, at least 78 people out of 352 experienced at least one serious side effect of the brain treatment, such as infection, seizure, suicide attempt, stroke, etc.
In conclusion, the researchers reported that “there is strong evidence” in favor of deep brain stimulation for the treatment of severe OCD. But they added that “while these results are encouraging, it is important to remember that this technique is not without limitations. Primarily, it requires long-term implantation of the electrodes and carries the associated risk of complications.”
For even more news from Patras, Greece and the World, the moment it happens, enter the news feed of pelop.gr