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April 22 2009

Deep Brain StimulationAvoiding the Errors of Psychosurgery

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom (Dr Kringelbach); Centre for Functionally Integrative Neuroscience, University of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark (Dr Kringelbach); and Nuffield Department of Surgery, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, United Kingdom (Drs Kringelbach and Aziz).

JAMA. 2009;301(16):1705-1707. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.551

Since the publication of Whitman's prescient poem “I Sing the Body Electric” in his collection Leaves of Grass, the electrical nature of brain and body has been confirmed by an abundance of scientific research. Seemingly much of what goes wrong with the brain could hypothetically benefit from finely calibrated pulses of electricity. The most promising available neuromodulatory technique is deep brain stimulation (DBS), which has shown clinical efficacy and safety in helping to improve certain brain-related problems such as movement disorders.1 The improvement in the symptoms of many patients has captured the attention of the general public, and neuroscientists are now introducing DBS for treatment of psychiatric disorders such as depression and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

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