January 9, 2020

Around the nation: WVU physicians test whether brain stimulation can treat substance use disorders

Daily Briefing

    The physicians are conducting a clinical trial to test whether brain stimulation helps reduce substance cravings, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from New York, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

    • New York: New York University Langone Health in New York City has launched a vaccine center aimed at reducing the spread of infectious diseases. The center, which is the first of its kind in the city, focuses on research and public outreach. For example, the center will educate the public on the safety and effectiveness of vaccines to reduce vaccine hesitancy. Epidemiologists, immunologists, and microbiologists at the center also will collaborate on research projects to improve disease detection, develop novel vaccines, and increase the use of infectious disease vaccinations. Mark Mulligan, the Thomas S. Murphy Sr. professor of medicine and director of the division of infectious diseases and immunology at NYU Langone Health, has been tapped to lead the center (Vaidya, Becker's Clinical Leadership & Infection Control, 1/7).

    • Tennessee: TriStar Health has named Dustin Greene the CEO of its TriStar Skyline Medical Center, effective Feb. 1. Greene, who currently serves as the CEO of TriStar Horizon Medical Center in Dickson, will succeed Steve Otto, who announced his retirement at the end of 2019 (Stinnett, Nashville Business Journal, 1/7).

    • West Virginia: Physicians at West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute are conducting a clinical trial to determine whether deep brain stimulation can treat substance use disorders (SUDs). The trial, which is being overseen by several regulatory agencies, involves four patients who will have stimulators permanently implanted in their brains to target the nucleus accumbens, a region of the brain involved in processing rewards. The doctors will interview the patients and review PET scans and other imaging to see whether adjusting the levels of stimulation helps reduce substance cravings. KDKA-TV reports that the team of physicians have only performed the procedure once so far, but they are hopeful the four patients will benefit from the deep brain stimulation and pave the way for a large, multi-center trial to further investigate its potential as a treatment option for SUDs (Simbra, KDKA-TV, 1/6).
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