A team of three scientists from the University of Minnesota and Massachusetts General Hospital, found a method to improve brain functions related to self-control and mental flexibility through electrical stimulation; specifically, by using artificial intelligence (AI).
What was done?
The team of three first identified the part of the brain region responsible for cognitive function. These scientists conducted this finding during brain surgery on 12 different epilepsy patients. Working with Sydney Cash, an epilepsy expert, they placed tiny electrodes in all areas of the brain. The region of the brain that improved the patients’ mental function, gave off the electrical energy. This region of the brain (internal capsule) is defective in mentally impaired patients because it plays an important role in cognitive control, i.e. switching from one thought pattern or behavior to another.
The team led by Alik Widge, created an algorithmic electrical intervention system, to improve self-control and mental versatility. The system is built based on algorithms that decode when a patient is experiencing any form of cognitive struggle (in terms of control). At this point, the system augments that situation by directing electrical stimulation to that region. Thereby creating an equal to the human mental function.
This research deserves worldwide attention and adoption. It is the very first finding to show that the internal capsule has sub-parts that can be specifically used for cognitive enhancement. This is a major breaker for the psychiatric sector as it’s now possible to give solutions to cure, rather than to suppress.
It also creates a major leap for this sector by using a closed-loop algorithm to detect when to stimulate, and not stimulate at random. This corrects the mistake of over-stimulating and under-stimulating; which have their respective repercussions.
But above all, this research is the first that successfully linked humans physical function to mental illness. It provided the first trustworthy specific electrical stimulation for mental enhancement. Electricity and the human body are too at par, most especially the brain; however, this system maneuvered this feature and is approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
The majority of mental associated ailments come with cognitive defects. Most epilepsy patients complain of anxiety before seizures. However, many propose that if they can focus on other things or situations at that instant of anxiety, they would have fewer seizures. This analogy can be proven true with this system.
This system paves way for a whole new approach to treating mental illness. Instead of suppressing symptoms, this system gives patients a key to the control room of their minds. This system can be used in treating chronic anxiety disorders, depression, and other disorders.
Being approved by Food and Drug Administration, the team of scientists is preparing for clinical trials. This system would be adopted into the medical ecosystem formally quickly if the clinical trials go unhitched. We can only watch, wait and hope.