Thursday, February 19, 2009
There's a new treatment option for people suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved a pacemaker-like device that relieves anxiety with electrical jolts to the brain.
Medtronic's Reclaim device is the first implant approved to treat OCD, which causes uncontrollable worries, such as fear of germs or dirt. About 2.2 million Americans have the disorder.
The new device would only be available to a small group of patients who don't respond to other treatments, such as antidepressant drugs and therapy.
The device is implanted under the skin of the chest and then connected to four electrodes in the brain. The electrodes deliver steady pulses of electricity that block abnormal brain signals.
Similar devices have been used since the 1990s to treat movement disorders like Parkinson's disease and tremors.