Category Archives: CES Research

Anti-anxiety medications could become the next US drug epidemic

pills-crisis

The growing use of anti-anxiety pills reminds some doctors of the early days of the opioid crisis.

Considered relatively safe and non-addictive by the general public and many doctors, Xanax, Valium, Ativan and Klonopin have been prescribed to millions of Americans for decades to calm jittery nerves and promote a good night’s sleep.

These can trigger addiction after prolonged use or even coma and death when used in combination with opioids, public health officials warn. A series of recent studies showcasing the drugs’ danger have called for heightened awareness of their addictive and fatal potential.

When taken in combination with painkillers or illicit narcotics, benzodiazepines can increase the likelihood of a fatal overdose as much as tenfold, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. On their own, the medications can cause debilitating withdrawal symptoms that last for months or years.

The Drug Enforcement Agency classifies benzodiazepines, called “benzos,” as a Schedule IV depressant, signifying a low potential for abuse, while opioids are considered a Schedule II drug with a high potential for abuse and addiction. However, more than 30 percent of opioid overdoses also involve benzos, the National Institute on Drug Abuse said. This combination can turn fatal when the drugs suppress a user’s breathing. A June study found that simultaneous use increases the risk of overdose more than five times.

Many overdoses result from concurrent use of medications: More than 17 percent of patients using opioids are also prescribed benzos at the same time. While the rate of opioid prescription declined almost 5 percent between 2012 and 2016, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported in its 2017 annual drug report, more than 13.5 million American adults use prescribed benzos, a 65 percent increase between 1996 and 2013.

While temporary use can successfully treat insomnia and anxiety disorders, research has shown prolonged use of anti-anxiety medications can cause physical and psychological dependence. Like other addictive drugs, benzos “hijack” synaptic plasticity, or changes in nerve cell signals, in the brain to trigger the release of dopamine. Weaning patients off the drug can produce symptoms of withdrawal-like delirium, anxiety and seizures.

Just as the spike in legal opioids prescriptions spurred the increase in sales and use of deadly drugs like heroin and fentanyl, overprescribing anti-anxiety medications has created a market for synthetic benzos. Sold illegally and without doctor or FDA approval, these synthetic drugs can be more than one thousand times more potent than prescription benzos.

The opioid crisis has dominated the national drug conversation, and with reason: Rates of opioid-related deaths remain high, at more than 16 deaths per 100,000 people, the 2017 CDC report found. But health professionals worry America’s highly publicized opioid problem diverts attention from the growing overconsumption of benzos, which could prove just as damaging.

Finding Non-med Safe, Effective Relief through CES

CES (Cranial Electrotherapy) is a unique and viable “bioelectric” approach which enhances the homeostasis of the biological central nervous system – the tendency for intrinsic balance within a system. Its ethic is that of self-regulation. Its goal, wellness – a state of proper alignment – the balanced interplay of body and mind attained through personal empowerment rather than dependency.

Self-regulation, autonomy, and no negative side effects are ample reasons to consider CES. CES proponents believe that increased reliance on external drugs interferes with that self-regulatory process, reducing our ability to cope.

To reclaim control of our life we have to learn how to alter that chemical composition and reorient that circuitry, not through dependency but by activating, strengthening, and effectively employing our own inner resources.

On a more mundane level, cost is yet another factor. The CES Ultra is but a fraction of the cost of drugs and may be used year after year.

ref:. https://www.newsweek.com | https://www.cnbc.com

Brain Stimulation to improve your cognitive performance

brain-stimulation-for-memory

New research in humans demonstrates the potential to improve memory with a non-invasive brain stimulation technique.

You can directly improve cognitive performance simply by wearing a brain stimulation device while you work, with no additional meditation or special diets. Such devices target the part of the brain with electricity to help concentration and learn new skills. They use a targeted current to make a small boost to certain brainwaves.”

The technology is based on a new form of non-invasive brain stimulation, a field with more than 20 years of clinical research and a strong track record for safety. Previously, it has been used to treat such conditions as depression and insomnia, but recently it has been found to provide cognitive benefits, too.

A brain stimulation device creates small electrical signals that amplify brainwave patterns, and it is similar to technology that the U.S. military, Olympic athletes and leading labs such as the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and Harvard use.

The technology represents a significant step forward, allowing the user to directly improve the performance of the brain in a highly targeted way, without the side effects of popular alternatives like caffeine or nootropics.

ref:> https://www.sciencedaily.com | https://drexel.edu

Brain Stimulation Therapies for Mental Health

Alternatives to Drugs in the Treatment of Depression

It’s estimated that around 30 percent of people with depression don’t respond to typical antidepressants. This is known as treatment-resistant depression. An important alternative which can be life-changing is brain stimulation therapy.

brain-stimulation-for-mental-health

Brain stimulation therapy involves the application of [electric] energy over specific brain regions to modulate the function of neural circuits. This can help alleviate symptoms of depression or other mental illnesses that aren’t responding to typical treatments, such as bipolar disorder. There are five main types of brain stimulation therapies used to treat mental illness: electroconvulsive therapy, vagus nerve stimulation, deep brain stimulation, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, and magnetic seizure therapy. Let’s explore vagus nerve stimulation(VNS) and Deep brain stimulation (DBS).

Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS)

Vagus nerve stimulation was initially developed as a treatment for the seizure disorder epilepsy, and in a happy accident, scientists discovered that it could help with depression as well. The FDA approved VNS for treatment-resistant depression in 2005.

If you’re getting this kind of therapy, doctors will surgically implant a tool called a pulse generator into the upper left portion of your chest. An electrical wire connects the pulse generator to your vagus nerve, which runs from your brain through your neck and into your chest and abdomen. From its command center in your chest, the pulse generator will send bursts of electric currents to your brain every couple of minutes. Pulse generators typically work for around 10 years before they need to be replaced.

It appears as though VNS can improve issues like severe depression by changing levels of neurotransmitters in your brain including serotonin, norepinephrine, GABA, and glutamate. A 2018 study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry analyzed quality of life reports from 599 people with treatment-resistant depression, finding that those who combined VNS with other antidepressant treatments experienced significant improvements in their quality of life, even if their symptoms didn’t disappear completely. That points to an important fact about VNS: anyone receiving it will need to continue their other treatments (like taking antidepressants). Even so, it can take months to see a difference when using VNS, and the device could shift or malfunction, which may require more surgery.

VNS is not a surefire fix. Some people’s conditions get worse after they try it, not better.

Deep brain stimulation (DBS)

This started as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Then doctors realized it shows promise for easing depression and obsessive compulsive disorder, too. FDA approved deep brain stimulation for obsessive compulsive disorder, but not yet for depression.

Like VNS, deep brain stimulation uses pulse generators in the chest to send electrical pulses to the brain. Unlike VNS, which delivers stimulation in bursts, DBS involves more continuous stimulation but you should be able to customize the exact frequency with your doctor’s help.

The Problem: Both Deep brain stimulation and Vagus nerve stimulation describe costly and intrusive procedure involving an implant.

The Solution:

There is another non –intrusive, non-invasive and  way to target the vague nerve: cranial electrotherapy stimulation using CES devices. CES devices can achieve good result at fraction of the cost; and there is no need for an implant.CES therapy is simple and easy. Pre-gelled electrodes are placed in such a manner as to directly The compact size and ear clip electrodes makes it easy to use just about anywhere and under a variety of circumstances. You can your portable CES unit  at home while watching TV, doing the dishes, walking, studying, at the office while poring over a report, etc. You can do so safely, with no serious negative side-effects and at a fraction of the cost and none of the risks of a major operation.

re: > https://www.self.com/story/brain-stimulation-therapies

CES Can Enhance Learning

CES is an effective treatment for anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Any betterment of these conditions makes it easier and faster to learn. CES also helps to improve memory and attention.

U.S. Defense is testing Electrical Stimulation to improve learning and military skills

ces-military

It takes years to learn some of the most important national security skills, such as speaking foreign languages, analyzing surveillance images, and marksmanship. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) wants to speed up that training process using electrical stimulation to enhance the brain’s ability to learn. The Defense Department’s research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), announced it had awarded multimillion-dollar contracts to eight university groups that will study and develop such technologies.

DARPA wants to see a 30 percent improvement in learning rates by the end of the four-year program. Studies will be conducted on human volunteers and animals. DARPA did not disclose the total value of the research contracts.

This isn’t DARPA’s first foray into electrical and other kinds of nerve stimulation. In 2014, it sponsored direct brain stimulation research in a project called RAM that aims to restore memory in people with traumatic brain injuries. And in 2015, the agency bet on electrical stimulation as a therapeutic technique for treating disease, awarding contracts through its ElectRx project.

For the new stimulation project, dubbed targeted neuroplasticity training, or TNT, research teams will focus on peripheral nerves that project into the brain and tug at memories. By delivering electrical pulses into the body’s nervous system, the scientists aim to modulate the brain’s neural connectivity and production of key chemicals. That kind of neural tuning can influence cognitive state—how awake you are, or how much attention you’re paying to something you’re viewing or performing.

If it works — if researchers can improve a person’s ability to learn—the DoD could reduce the amount of time spent training soldiers and intelligence agents. “Foreign language training is one of our primary application areas because it’s very time intensive,” Doug Weber, a bioengineer at DARPA who heads up the TNT project. Language courses last more than a year, and only about 10 percent of trainees reach the level of proficiency needed for their jobs, he says.

Weber says he envisions intelligence agents or soldiers wearing some kind of noninvasive stimulation device that delivers precise electrical pulses as they practice their skills. And unlike caffeine or energy drinks, the stimulation can be turned off and, hopefully, causes fewer side effects.

The teams awarded the research contracts will start with the vagus and trigeminal nerves. A team headed up by Stephen Helms Tillery, a neuroscientist at Arizona State University, for example, will study the anatomy and role of the trigeminal nerve—a cranial nerve responsible for sensations and motor function in the face.

Evidence suggests that this nerve complex has access to areas of the brain stem that release norepinephrine, a chemical associated with attention, and dopamine, a chemical linked to the brain’s ability to adapt.

Other awardees are focusing on the vagus nerve—a major neural throughway that connects most of the body’s key organs.

The researchers will likely face some ethical questions, such as the ethics of using enhancement on war fighters; and if electrical stimulation proves effective at enhancing learning, how pervasive and mandatory it would become in the military is unclear.

ref> https://spectrum.ieee.org | https://asunow.asu.edu

Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) for Anxiety

James Lake, MD - cranial electrotherapy

Cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) has beneficial effects on many mental problems

Micro-current electrical stimulation, also called cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES), has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of insomnia, depressed mood, and anxiety but is not widely used or recommended by psychiatrists and other mental health providers. Treatment consists of applying very weak pulsed electrical current to the earlobes or scalp.

CES changes the brain’s default mode network

The mechanism of action is probably related to changes in cortical brain activity that cause altered connectivity in the so-called ‘default mode network (DMN) (Feusner 2012).’ Small changes in the DMN translate into sustained changes in the brain’s resting state and overall level of arousal resulting in reduced anxiety.

Research findings are positive

Sham-controlled studies and meta-analyses show that CES is a safe and effective treatment of generalized anxiety. A meta-analysis of double-blind controlled trials comparing CES with a sham treatment (ie, electrodes applied but with no current) concluded that measures of generalized anxiety improved in 7 of 8 studies, and the magnitude of improvement reached statistical significance in 4 of these. A larger review encompassing 34 sham-controlled trials conducted between 1963 and 1996 concluded that regular CES treatments resulted in short-term symptomatic relief of generalized anxiety symptoms mediated by direct effects on autonomic brain centers (DeFelice 1997). In a 10-week open trial of daily self-administered CES therapy in 182 individuals diagnosed with DSM-III anxiety disorders, 73% of patients reported significant reductions in anxiety that were maintained at 6-month follow-up. Significantly, one-fourth of patients enrolled in this study had failed trials on conventional drugs, and 58% had received no previous treatment of any kind for their anxiety symptoms. In general, patients who receive at least 4 to 6 CES treatments experience more sustained reductions in anxiety compared to patients who receive fewer treatments.

Individuals diagnosed with one or more phobias by DSM criteria reported significant reductions in transient anxiety when exposure to the phobic stimulus was followed by 30 minutes of CES treatment. Comparable anxiety reduction was achieved with CES and conventional anti-anxiety medications suggesting that CES may be an effective approach for phobic patients who wish to discontinue prescription medications. Hospitalized patients with histories of drug or alcohol abuse reported significant reductions in anxiety compared to matched patients who received sham CES.

Few mild transient side effects but no serious adverse effects of micro-current electrical brain stimulation have not been reported.

by James Lake, M.D. who works to transform mental health care through the evidence-based uses of alternative therapies. Ref: https://www.psychologytoday.com