Deep brain stimulation is being tested to treat opioid addiction

Deep brain stimulation is being tested to treat opioid addiction

Publication date: Nov 07, 2019

His patient, 33-year-old hotel worker Gerod Buckhalter, said he had been unable to remain sober for more than four months since the age of 15, despite trying a variety of medications and other inpatient and outpatient treatments.

It is aimed at a small percentage of opioid abusers with the most treatment-resistant cravings for opioids, who may face a lifetime of overdoses, relapses, inability to hold a job and other consequences of addiction.

-I’m not advocating for deep brain stimulation as a first line or a second line [treatment],” Rezai said.

Rezai’s surgical team opened a hole in Buckhalter’s skull about the size of a nickel, then inserted four wires into his nucleus accumbens, a part of the brain’s reward system that responds strongly to opioids.

About 180,000 people around the world have deep brain stimulators, Rezai said.

The same surgery for people with opioid use disorder has been performed in China and Holland, said Helen S. Mayberg, director of the Center of Advanced Circuit Therapeutics at Mt. Sinai Medical Center’s Icahn School of Medicine, and also has been tried as a cure for alcoholism.

Other countries have employed different approaches for people with the most severe addictions as the opioid crisis continues.

Rezai’s effort is believed to be the first attempt to use deep brain stimulation on opioid use disorder in the United States.

Mayberg, who was not involved in the trial, said the that logic of the effort is sound and that the circuitry of this part of the brain is well-mapped compared with other regions.

Linda J. Porrino, a professor of physiology and pharmacology at Wake Forest School of Medicine, said animal studies and anecdotal evidence among humans who have had deep brain stimulation for other diseases indicates the procedure could be helpful in curbing cravings for opioids, alcohol, nicotine and cocaine.

Buckhalter said he tries not to consider what he will do if deep brain stimulation doesn’t work for him.

Concepts Keywords
Addiction Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute
Alcohol Neuroscience
Alcoholism Ali Rezai
Benzodiazepines Opioid use disorder
Brain Deep brain stimulation
Brain Surgery Electrotherapy
Canada Neurotechnology
China Morphine
Clinical Trial RTT
Cocaine Addiction
Cognitive Nervous system
Collar Bone Branches of biology
Deep Brain Stimulation Neuroscience
Deep Brain Stimulators Telephone interview hospital
Dopamine Pain
Football Injury
Hardcore Surgery diseases
Heart Pacemaker Surgery opioid disorder
Heroin Deep brain stimulation
Holland Brain surgery
Hospital
Hotel
Logic
Nickel
Nicotine
NIDA
Nucleus Accumbens
Opioid
Opioid Addiction
Opioids
Pain
Percocet
Pharmaceutical
Pharmacology
Physiology
Reward Circuitry
Reward System
Sinai
Skull
Telephone
United States
Wake Forest
Watch Battery
West Virginia
Wireless
Xanax

Semantics

Type Source Name
disease MESH opioid addiction
gene UNIPROT EGR3
disease DOID face
gene UNIPROT ELOVL6
gene UNIPROT FANCE
disease MESH relapses
drug DRUGBANK Dopamine
drug DRUGBANK Tropicamide
disease MESH alcoholism
disease DOID alcoholism
pathway BSID Alcoholism
drug DRUGBANK Diamorphine
disease MESH Drug Abuse
drug DRUGBANK Ethanol
drug DRUGBANK Nicotine
drug DRUGBANK Cocaine
gene UNIPROT STAB2
drug DRUGBANK Alprazolam
drug DRUGBANK Spinosad

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