Are you feeling gloomy or dull? Depressed or experiencing irrational fears? What if you could just change your mood or behavior with an implant in your brain?
Does this sound scary to you? Exciting, even?
Skeptical, are you? Or, are you hopeful?
Well, the idea of changing the brain for the better with electricity is not new, but deep brain stimulation (DBS) takes a more targeted approach than the electroconvulsive therapy introduced in the 1930s.
The results of its clinical studies so far are very mixed: Some patients say they have been totally transformed while others feel no effect at all, or they get worse. DBS is not being used as a treatment for Dementia or Alzheimer’s as of now.
Yet, research continues and the technology’s potential to instantly and powerfully change mood raises ethical, social, and cultural questions.
Check out this interview with neuroethicist, James Giordano, chief of the Neuroethics Studies Program at Georgetown University Medical Center, to know about this new technology and its potential benefits and harms when used for psychiatric treatment.