when drugs do not work – the new brain stimulation, the immoral inquisitors are back

Glacier streams at Mt. Cook New Zealand

Glacier streams at Mt. Cook New Zealand.


Deep brain stimulation: a fix when the drugs don’t work

Artificial cardiac pacemakers are typically associated with controlling and resynchronising heartbeats by electrical stimulation of the heart muscle.

In a similar manner, DBS sends electrical impulses to specific parts of the brain that control discrete functions. This stimulation evokes control over the neural activity within these regions.

Prior to switching on the electrical stimulation, electrodes are surgically implanted within precise brain regions to control a specific function.

The neurosurgery is conducted under local anaesthetic to maintain consciousness in the patient. This ensures that the electrode does not damage critical brain regions.

The brain itself has no pain receptors so does not require anaesthetic.

…Drug therapy for Parkinson’s disease involves the use of levodopa (L-DOPA), a form of dopamine that can cross the blood brain barrier and then be synthesised into dopamine.

The administration of L-DOPA temporarily reduces the motor symptoms by increasing dopamine concentrations in the brain. However, side effects of this treatment include nausea and disordered movement.

DBS has been shown to provide relief from the motoric symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and essential tremors.

For the treatment of Parkinson’s disease electrodes are implanted into regions of the basal ganglia – the subthalamic nucleus or globus pallidus, to restore control of movement.

I practically grew up on One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Suddenly, Last Summer. So I have a built in anxiety about anyone messing around with the brain. While some level of wariness is reasonable when considering brain altering treatment, modern medicine seems to be leaving the nightmarish Nurse Ratcheds behind.

I’m posting this in it’s entirety so you’ll have the background, What’s Next For Kaitlyn Hunt, The Teen Charged With A Felony For Same-Sex Relationship With Classmate.

On Friday night, 18-year-old Kaitlyn Hunt and her family went public with their story: Kaitlyn was charged with a felony stemming from a relationship she had with a 15-year-old girl at her high school. The response in the 48-hours that followed, Kaitlyn’s father Steven Hunt told ThinkProgress in an interview, was “extraordinary.”

Already, nearly 40,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Assistant State Attorney, Brian Workman, to drop the case. On Facebook, more than 13,000 people have joined a group — Free Kate — in support of the family.

Last week, her father said, Workman offered Kaitlyn a plea bargain. She could plead guilty to child abuse, a felony, and spend two years under house arrest. The judge would determine if she would have to register as a sex offender. They were given a deadline of May 24th to accept the offer or face trial.

Kaitlyn’s father suggests his daughters arrest — and the substantial sentence sought by the prosecutor — are motivated by anti-gay bias. He told ThinkProgress that the younger girl’s parents have told teachers at the high school that “their daughter will NOT be gay.”

So what’s next for Kaitlyn?

The family is hoping that public pressure will improve the offer from the State Attorney. Her father said Kaitlyn would be willing to plead to a misdemeanor, but not a felony. If the position of the State Attorney does not change, Kaitlyn and her family are prepared to go to trial.

The family’s attorney, Julia Graves, has assembled a table of experienced defense lawyers that will convene next week to discuss Kaitlyn’s legal options. Meanwhile, Kaitlyn is scheduled to appear in court again on June 20. At that time, if a plea agreement is not reached, the judge could set a date for trial.

We dangerously close to returning to the worse of American historical traditions, with attitudes that resemble those of those Salem witch-hunters. Two teens having a relationships. Oh the horror. That has never happened before, someone must be punished. Criminal laws are supposed to be about protecting victims from abusive and violent behavior, negligence by individuals and corporations, not enforcing the twisted 17th century moral sensibilities of local inquisitors.