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A useful procedure used today in humans is called deep brain stimulation (DBS), which is not necessarily associated with drugs and pleasure. In this procedure, neurosurgeons implant electrodes into the brains of patients with a battery-powered generator that produces electrical pulses (see Figure 3-2). It has been found that stimulation of the electrodes can relieve symptoms of chronic pain, major depression, Parkinson's disease, and other disorders. Of course, it depends where the electrodes are implanted, and different sites are used for different disorders. This treatment is relatively new because the first use for DBS was approved by the FDA in only 1997. It is interesting that the mechanism of DBS is still not thoroughly understood. It won't surprise you to learn that DBS is being discussed as a treatment for addictive disorders. Promising results have been obtained in animal studies where DBS seems to reduce an animal's interest in self-administering drugs.

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Figure 3-2 Deep brain stimulation is an important therapeutic technique used today that can treat serious neurological disorders. An electrode is placed in the brain region (the thalamus is shown here) that has been found to alleviate certain symptoms. A lead is attached to the electrode and the extension wires are threaded under the skin to a pulse generator that provides the stimulation. The pulse generator is placed under the skin in a region where it can be calibrated and serviced safely. The stimulator is turned on to alleviate various symptoms. (From http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=56945, with permission, accessed December 28, 2010.)

Figure 3-2 Deep brain stimulation is an important therapeutic technique used today that can treat serious neurological disorders. An electrode is placed in the brain region (the thalamus is shown here) that has been found to alleviate certain symptoms. A lead is attached to the electrode and the extension wires are threaded under the skin to a pulse generator that provides the stimulation. The pulse generator is placed under the skin in a region where it can be calibrated and serviced safely. The stimulator is turned on to alleviate various symptoms. (From http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=56945, with permission, accessed December 28, 2010.)

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