deep-brain-stimulation

Photo credit: https://www.epilepsysociety.org.uk/deep-brain-stimulation#.WEBn8MlA-Uk

When psychiatric drugs and electroconvulsive therapy fail to relieve a patient’s depression, psychiatrists report he has “treatment-resistant depression”.

This patient is then a prime candidate for any experimental lunacy that the profession dreams up because the poor victim feels he has nothing to lose. The earlier treatments have left him more depressed and suicidal than he was before he first met a psychiatrist. He’ll try anything no matter how bizarre.

As we have reported earlier, lobbyists are pushing for a Senate vote this coming week on a bill called “The 21st Century Cures Act” – or HR 34 in its newly “amended” form. The law calls for skipping scientifically sound safety testing of new medical devices in the guise of helping desperate cases, but it would result in harmful and potentially deadly new gadgets being rolled out for use on the general population.

If passed and signed into law, ECT shock machines could become as commonly available and used as electric wheelchairs.

Ready in the wings if this bill passes into law is an equally destructive medical device and procedure called “Deep Brain Stimulation” (DBS) – touted as the perfect new salvation for “treatment-resistant depression.”

A Vancouver based freelance journalist named Danielle Egan explored the chilling story of DBS in detail in her article “Adverse Effects: The Perils of Deep Brain Stimulation for Depression”.[1]

Deep Brain Stimulation begins with two surgeries.

The first surgery takes an entire day. It begins by bolting a frame to the patient’s head so the surgeon can locate the target area of the brain.

Then, two holes are drilled through the bone of the skull so that wires and electrical contacts can be positioned deep in each hemisphere of the brain.  The wires are then tunneled back through the brain, under the skin of the scalp, behind the ears and down the neck into the chest.

In the second surgery, an internal pulse generator is installed under the skin (a so-called brain “pacemaker”) that delivers electricity via the wires to the brain implant. The specific voltage for each of the eight electrode contacts are set by an external remote control computer programming device, the settings of which are controlled by a medical specialist.

When “turned on” the battery continuously delivers electricity into the targeted part of the brain. The battery might go dead in as little as 10 months requiring another chest surgery to change batteries.

Is there any proven medical science supporting this activity?

DBS targets an almond-sized part of the cerebral cortex “thought” to be implicated in depression.[2]

Ms. Egan discovered “Proponents of DBS still have no idea about why DBS might provide a benefit, or its possible ‘therapeutic’ mechanism of action, even though it has been researched since the ‘80s.”

The idea of the effect created by DBS is similar to the cognitive blunting that victims of lobotomies experienced back in the 1940s. Psychosurgery, the idea of deliberately destroying brain tissue, fell out of favor for awhile but resurged in the 1990s. The medical centers where this theory has risen are the current proponents of DBS and they implant the electrical brain devices in the same parts of the brain formerly targeted by psychosurgery.

Dangers of Deep Brain Stimulation

DBS surgery comes with a host of potential surgical risks, including:

  • Up to an 8% risk of bleeding in the brain that can lead to permanent deficit, or death 1.1% of the time.
  • An 8% chance of stroke or permanent neurological deficits.
  • A risk of infection of up to 15%.
  • 5% risk of hemorrhage.
  • 2% risk of seizure.
  • The potential for air to enter the brain, and leakage of cerebrospinal fluid or brain fluid
  • ‘Hardware-related’ complications are also possible (including breakage or migration of the implant’s wires or electrodes), all of which could necessitate additional brain or chest surgeries, including device wire fractures that make it impossible for the pacemaker to deliver electricity to the contacts in the brain.
  • Scar formations in the brain

DBS electrical treatment can also cause mental effects

  • Suicide
  • Depression
  • Apathy
  • Fatigue
  • Mania
  • Elation and hyperactivity
  • Aggression
  • Addiction (to gambling, shopping, drugs, alcohol)
  • Hypersexuality, sometimes resulting in criminal behavior, including pedophilia

A trial consent form for DBS included some information about potential adverse effects, but these were called “rare complications”. These were apathy, suicide, attention deficit, anxiety, ruminativeness (continuously thinking about the various aspects of situations that are upsetting), hypomania (elation and hyperactivity), mania, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder and psychosis.

Here are the stories of two people who signed up to be in DBS trials.

Jim’s Story (at his request, not his real name)

Jim recalled that following the implant, “I had severe mental fogginess, trouble reading, concentrating, focusing, doing my job—tasks I’d done before almost in my sleep. I had to apply for disability. I had a profound feeling of disconnection with reality, disconnection from the world around me, and anhedonia – that’s an inability to feel pleasure, motivation, anticipation, even from things you enjoy doing. I had some anhedonia before the surgery, but not to that extent. It was a lot worse after DBS. I felt very different, the changes felt internal – the innermost workings of your brain. I’d never felt like that before.” [3]

About 6 months following his implant he had extreme sleep problems “I’d have night terrors and catatonic sleep, like narcolepsy; it would just come over me in the middle of the day and I’d have 20 minutes to get somewhere safe before it took over and knocked me out; my wife couldn’t even wake me up. That happened four or five times per week. The doctor discovered that for four to six hours a night I have no REM sleep, and the other half of the night I have three to four hours of solid REM sleep – the doctor said he’d never seen anything like that,” Jim says. “Who knows if it’s implant-related, or due to stimulation. I know it’s not related to medications because I wasn’t on any medications during the first year of the trial.” [4]

Jim finally got a doctor to remove the device in a four hour surgery.

“I guess the surgeon had to do a bit of prying. After he took off the burr caps that cover the holes in my skull, the second piece that fits into the skull gave him trouble because the bone and tissue had knitted around it. My head is throbbing around the burr holes and so is the skin around the [chest pacemaker] box. Hopefully it’ll all heal. I can’t go back and un-ring the bell. I feel like the DBS broke my brain; it broke something in me. I think the UCLA investigators did what they could for me, but I think that the way these studies are conducted, peoples’ health and safety is often secondary to the goals of the corporate sponsors. But I need to put what happened behind me. I’m just relieved it’s out.”

Rich’s Story

Rich told the interviewer, “Gradually over the next six months, little bits of depression started coming in,” he says. “At six months everyone’s device got turned on. That’s when all hell broke loose with me. It hit me like a Mack truck. I was working from home doing a conference call and the rage just popped. Somebody said something stupid and I felt like I was going to murder someone. I called the [study] doctor saying, ‘I’m out of my mind.’ For the next 6 months that cycle repeated. I’d go in for programming, they’d change the [DBS device] settings to who knows what, they never said what they were doing, but within 24 hours, a new Richard emerged—apathetic Richard, manic Richard, suicidal Richard, homicidal Richard, who knows what kind of Richard would appear after these sessions.” [5]

“It would be a single emotion, like rage, extreme anxiety, paranoia or self-harm. Between these episodes I was just a robot with no emotions, no feelings.” [6]

He took no drugs prior to the implant but once the electricity began he was soon on an average of three drugs including antipsychotics.

He quit his job and took disability.

“I tried to lie down and sleep, but I couldn’t. I wasn’t thinking about suicide. I wasn’t thinking about anything. But then I got up, grabbed a sharp knife and started hacking at my arm. There was no thought behind my actions, no mental negotiation, no thought of consequences, no premeditation. It felt like an involuntary action, like my brain ordering my heart to beat. I remember being fascinated by the blood and understanding that since I was alone, I had all the time in the world. That’s when I got a call from the person at the [Broaden] study center, wanting to make sure I had the time and location of my appointment. I gave no indication of what I was doing until he asked me if I was safe. I just started laughing hysterically and couldn’t stop. I eventually said something about being in a pool of my own blood. I guess the phone was handed off to another member of the study staff who kept asking me what I had done, what [part of my body] I had cut. Whenever she mentioned a spot, I’d cut that particular spot. Then she asked if I had taken any pills, so I started downing the bottle of Geodon [antipsychotics]. This went on until the police showed up at my door. .. “

Finally, three years after the implant Rich had it removed. But the horrible effects continued.

“At that point I assumed the damage to my brain was permanent and it was. One night I was just sitting there watching TV. I got up, boiled a pot of water, poured it on myself, and went back to watching TV. It was like taking out the trash, just something you do almost automatically, without thought.” Eventually Rich went to the hospital to get the burns treated. “I see the scars every day, and I remember exactly what happened that day. But I don’t understand how or why it happened.”[7]

Rich summed up his interview this way:

“I went from having an environmental depression related to my life experiences, to this state where my brain dictates how I feel. Now my whole mental health status is built on the biology of my brain. I can’t make myself depressed, but I can wake up tomorrow and be manic or suicidal as hell, for no reason. When the depression used to get bad, I wanted to kill myself, but since the DBS, when I have the suicide episodes, it’s like I have to kill myself. It’s as if I don’t have a mind anymore, I’m just a brain. My brain now controls itself. I work with every fiber of my being, to still be here.  Otherwise I’d kill someone or myself, but it’s exhausting. I’d go back to my old severe depression in a heartbeat. Now I look at myself in the mirror and I wonder, ‘Who are you?”[8]

So, yes, there is something coming that’s worse than ECT and both must be banned from use.

 

[1] https://www.madinamerica.com/2015/09/adverse-effects-perils-deep-brain-stimulation-depression/

[2] http://investors.sjm.com/investors/financial-news/news-release-details/2008/St-Jude-Medical-Announces-First-Patient-Implants-in-Clinical-Study-Evaluating-Deep-Brain-Stimulation-for-Depression/default.aspx

[3] https://www.madinamerica.com/2015/09/adverse-effects-perils-deep-brain-stimulation-depression/

[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid

[6] Ibid

[7] Ibid

[8] Ibid