AUG 13, 2018 7:09 AM PDT

Some Ways of Healing the Brain Actually Damage It

Fixing the body usually involves “doing no harm” since that is part of the Hippocratic Oath doctors take. However, to repair the brain, sometimes there has to be some “damage” done in order for it to heal. While it was common early in the 20th century for doctors to attempt to “cure” some neurological and psychiatric conditions like schizophrenia or intellectual disabilities, with crude surgery that left patients unable to function on their own, brain surgery has come a long way. 

One surgical procedure done now is called a corpus callosotomy, where the bundle of nerves that connects the two brain hemispheres is severed completely. It’s the last resort for patients with epilepsy that have not seen any relief from atonic seizures which can be very dangerous. It’s not fully understood why it works, but most patients who have had the procedure saw a significant drop in the number and severity of the seizures. There are also surgeries that can help patients with OCD. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder patients often have an overactive anterior cingulate cortex, a small area at the front of the brain. Surgery in this area has been successful for some patients who did not respond to medication or therapy. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is also used in some neurological conditions, but more research is needed to validate the benefits of it for some patients.

About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
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