Study: Brain Stimulation May Ease Anxiety Disorder

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

The same kind of deep brain stimulation used to great some patients for Parkinson's disease also helped a few people suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder. That's according to a study by French scientists.

The study involved only 16 patients. But in four of them, symptoms nearly disappeared. However, many patients had serious side effects, including one case of bleeding in the brain.

The treatment involved an experimental brain pacemaker, and it reduced repetitive thoughts and behaviors in some of the patients -- just as it blocks tremors for some Parkinson's sufferers.

The findings are reported in this week's New England Journal of Medicine.

About 2.2 million American adults have obsessive-compulsive disorder. It involves recurring, unwanted thoughts, such as a fear of germs. People who have OCD engage in rituals such as repeatedly washing their hands or checking on something again and again.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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