Revolutionary Brain Implant Treats OCD and Epilepsy

American Amber Pearson used to wash her hands until they bled, terrified by the idea of contamination from everyday items, a debilitating result of her obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). But the repetitive rituals of her condition are largely consigned to memory, thanks to a revolutionary brain implant that is being used to treat both her epilepsy and her OCD.

“I’m actually present in my daily life and that’s incredible,” the 34-year-old told AFP. “Before, I was just constantly in my head worrying about my compulsions.”

Brain implants have hit the headlines recently with Elon Musk’s announcement that his Neuralink company had placed a chip in a patient’s head, which scientists hope will ultimately allow people to control a smartphone just by thinking about it. But the idea of inserting a device into the brain is not new, and for decades doctors have known that precisely applied electrical stimulation can affect the way the brain operates.

Amber Pearson shows a model of a brain implant she received at the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU)


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