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Brain Implants Could Fight Opioid Addiction

Tiny electrodes implanted in the reward center of the brain could mute opioid cravings in addicts.

As pharmaceutical companies begin taking ownership of the opioid epidemic in America, those affected by the issue are working to break their addiction. A recent NBC News article discussed a new strategy designed to help in their effort. The concept is in clinical trials at West Virginia’s University’s Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, and it involves deep brain stimulation to kill cravings.

The method is intended for patients who have been unsuccessful with other rehabilitation efforts, and have suffered multiple overdoses. Doctors implant tiny electrodes in the reward center of a patient’s brain. They then emit sparks of electricity to quiet cravings, and let the parts of the brain responsible for judgment and decision-making to be heard. The goal is to normalize dopamine levels over time so that patients no longer feel the urge to use drugs.

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