Do you or your loved one struggle with speech on a daily basis? If so, you know how difficult it may be to perform even the simplest tasks. Recently, new methods for treating this condition have become available.
Let’s look at whether brain zapping helps people with speech problems.
What Is Brain Zapping?
Brain zapping is a procedure in which doctors apply small electrical shocks to the area of the brain that they want to treat. This is also known as deep brain stimulation or DBS. Patients who stutter all the time may suffer from Tourette’s syndrome, for which DBS may be effective. While Tourette isn’t life threatening, it seriously affects the patient’s quality of life.
Doctors first have to map out a specific brain circuits that are most likely connected to Tourette. Afterwards, they deploy electrical stimuli to reduce the tics.
Does It Really Work?
The effectiveness of DBS is still open for research. One study conducted in the US reported that DBS reduced tics in nearly half of 171 patients. All of the patients were suffering from Tourette’s syndrome. However, DBS carries a risk of damaging other nearby circuits during the procedure. Doctors are currently doing more research to narrow down the specific brain areas associated with Tourette in order to minimize complications.
Interestingly, patients with speech problems as a result of Parkinson’s disease don’t respond to DBS. DBS may help decrease a number of tremor symptoms but not the speech ones. Sometimes, it may even worsen the situation from overstimulation. Only a very small number of cases showed positive reaction to DBS with respect to speech improvement.
Whether brain zapping helps people with speech problems is still open for research. It largely depends on the type of underlying disease. The main problem is that few hospitals are open to using this method, so it’s hard to get concrete results.