Mental illness in America is unfortunately more uncommon than we would like it to be.

According to research “1 in 5” adults in the US experience some level of mental illness in a year (“Researcher decodes”, 2019).

But, with the help of electrical stimulation at the right time, researchers may be able to help those with severe mental illness manage more difficult life tasks (“Researcher decodes”, 2019).

To study this, researchers analyzed patients who had electrodes already placed on their brain (these patients suffered from epilepsy, which is why they had the electrodes). They were able to analyze when the brain was in full “focus” versus when the brain was at “rest”. A program was then used to evaluate how certain brain signatures can indicate when an individual is very focused on a task that is difficult for them (“Researcher decodes”, 2019).

Electrical stimulation was then introduced once the brain signature for effortful focus was found – this actually helped individuals with their focus.

“‘Using the same neural signals that could drive adaptive deep brain stimulation, we have shown that it is possible to detect mental states that might be amendable…we hope that this world will ultimately contribute to the development of more effective brain stimulation therapies for mental illness,’” stated lead author Nicole Provenza (“Researcher decodes”, 2019).

Reference: University of Minnesota Medical School. (2019, August 16). Researcher decodes the brain to help patients with mental illnesses: Study demonstrates that network-level brain activity can detect specific types of mental effort. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 18, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190816105902.htm

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