Controversial Surgery for Addiction Burns Away Brain’s Pleasure Center

“How far should doctors go in attempting to cure addiction? In China, some physicians are taking the most extreme measures. By destroying parts of the brain’s “pleasure centers” in heroin addicts and alcoholics, these neurosurgeons hope to stop drug cravings. But damaging the brain region involved in addictive desires risks permanently ending the entire spectrum of natural longings and emotions, including the ability to feel joy.

In 2004, the Ministry of Health in China banned this procedure due to lack of data on long term outcomes and growing outrage in Western media over ethical issues about whether the patients were fully aware of the risks.

However, some doctors were allowed to continue to perform it for research purposes—and recently, a Western medical journal even published a new study of the results. In 2007, The Wall Street Journal detailed the practice of a physician who claimed he performed 1000 such procedures to treat mental illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia and epilepsy, after the ban in 2004; the surgery for addiction has also since been done on at least that many people.”

http://healthland.time.com/2012/12/13/controversial-surgery-for-addiction-burns-away-brains-pleasure-center/http:/healthland.time.com/2012/12/13/controversial-surgery-for-addiction-burns-away-brains-pleasure-center/

Source: Healthland.Time.com – December 13, 2012

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