The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) now offers deep brain stimulation (DBS) to treat patients with severe obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
The procedure called deep brain stimulation (DBS) sends signals to parts of the brain by using electrodes inserted through the skull and connected to controllers under the chest.
The procedure, which is used to treat people with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders, is also being tried experimentally for people with severe depression.
UPMC epilepsy and movement disorder surgery director Mark Richardson was quoted by Pittsburgh Post Gazette as saying that department will offer the surgery under a humanitarian device exemption.
"There are a lot of people with OCD, but when you whittle it down to the people who would qualify, it’s a smaller number," Richardson added.
The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted DBS as a routine surgery for Parkinson’s, essential tremor, dystonia and other movement disorders.
DBS experimental trials for depression have targeted two different areas. First one seems to dampen negative feelings and another that tries to boost positive emotions.
UPMC researchers plan to use a special kind of brain imaging called magnetoencephalography that detects the magnetic fields the brain creates, to measure the before-and-after effect of DBS.