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Deep Brain Stimulation Shows Promise in Treating Alcohol Use Disorders

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A recent study has shed new light on the potential of deep brain stimulation (DBS) in treating treatment-resistant alcohol use disorders (AUD). This groundbreaking trial, which was conducted as a double-blind randomised controlled study, compared the effects of active DBS (“DBS-EARLY ON”) against sham stimulation (“DBS-LATE ON”) over a 6-month period in 12 AUD inpatients. The findings were published in the journal Translational Psychiatry. 

The primary intention-to-treat analysis, which compared continuous abstinence between the two groups, did not produce statistically significant results. However, the results of secondary outcomes, including the proportion of abstinent days, lower alcohol cravings, and reduced levels of anhedonia, suggest a potential therapeutic effect of DBS in treating AUD.

The study also conducted an exploratory responder analysis, which showed that patients with high baseline alcohol cravings, depression, and anhedonia might benefit particularly from DBS. These findings are promising and highlight the importance of continued research into the use of DBS as a treatment option for AUD.

Despite the limited number of participants in this trial, the results are still significant and should encourage further studies with larger sample sizes to validate and replicate these findings. Alcohol use disorders are a major problem for affected individuals and for society, and the search for new, effective treatments is of utmost importance.

DBS has been used for many years in treating neurological and psychiatric conditions, and this study provides new evidence for its potential in treating AUD. It is crucial that further research is conducted in this area to determine the effectiveness of DBS and to determine the best techniques for using it to treat AUD.

The results of this study provide hope for those struggling with treatment-resistant AUD and are a positive step forward in the search for new, effective treatments. With the increasing prevalence of AUD and the limited success of current treatments, the development of new, effective treatments is a pressing need, and the findings from this trial are a step in the right direction.

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