Wonder Solution to Mental Illness Too Good to be True?
This one solution promises to treat many kinds of mental illness from depression to schizophrenia to autism. Sounds like patent medicine doesn’t it? But, it isn’t psycotherapy and it isn’t a drug, but once it is explained, it will make sense. It was described in the June 1, 2015 issue of Genetic Engineering News on p. 8.
It has to do with the electrical properties of the brain and not the chemical or biochemical aspects. Even the genetics doesn’t need to be considered.
Yi Jin, MD is the driving force behind this discovery. His father was a philosopher but he was worried when Dr. Jin who had gone to Shanghai Medical University switched from cardiology to psychiatry. His father didn’t believe in psychiatry and didn’t think the mind could understand itself.
Dr. Jin’s focus on the brain started in the 1980s and at this time nothing much had happened in treatments of mental illness for the past 30 years. His father might have a point. Symptoms could be improved somewhat or masked with drugs, but there were not cures.
So what to do? Dr. Jin decided to go off in a different direction since the standard approaches weren’t working. Luckily, Dr. Jin also had a background in electrical engineering and decided to look at the brain from this perspective as well.
MIT & Cybernetics
Dr. Jin was a fan of Dr. Norbert Wiener of MIT whose specialty was cybernetics. He showed the importance of a computer having an internal clock which would coordinate the work to be done. Without this, computers were much less efficient. The information becomes chaotic and is significantly degraded.
As part of his research, Dr. Wiener had found that human brains normally operated at 10 Hz (Hz or Hertz = cycles / second). Dr. Jin looked at this and found that when the frequency is close to this and also when the wave is very regular, it takes the brain / body very little energy to maintain this. The billions of brain cells are working in harmony. But when this is disrupted and the brain has multiple irregular frequencies, the energy required to control the system rises very dramatically. Sometimes the signal even disappears.
Dr. Jin then had the good luck to become a researcher at University of California – Irivine. The reason it was lucky was that he now had access to EEG equipment and a PET scanner, the only one in a department of psychiatry in the world at the time. He could now look at energy flows and measure energy processing in combination with signal processing in the brain to understand how they were interconnected.
This allowed him to make a surprising discovery. People had assumed a brain functioning at a higher metabolic rate would work better. But that turned out to be wrong. Higher metabolic rates tended to correlate with brain waves that were less rhythmical and required more energy and were less efficient. It also turned out that these people tended to have autism, schizophrenia, ADHD, panic attack, PTSD and more.
It turned out the other direction was not good either. Low frequency tended to Alzheimer’s, major depression and being comatose. The ideal turned out to be for 95% of the brain’s waves to be in the 8-12 Hertz range. Outside of that was a marker of mental illness.
Quest for a Cure
That raised the question of where it was possible to influence someone’s brain frequency. For a decade, Dr. Jin tried everything he could think of to affect a change in someone’s energy flows; sound stimulation, light flickering, mechanical tapping and more, but nothing was effective.
In 1997 he was working with Dr. Earl Cowen at the University of Maryland. Dr. Cowen and Dr. Jin found that magnetic resonance therapy stimulated dopamine and was therefore able to decrease depression.
With this awareness, Dr. Jin wondered if this was finally the answer to retraining the brain to have more synchronized brain waves at the right frequency. His team created a machine that generates gentle electric currents.
There is no need for surgery or medication. It is safe and there are no side affects. They have been able to get slower brains to speed up and have higher energy brains slow down. They did a study with children with autism and were able to get 50% of them back into a normal brain pattern. Currently a study is being done at the NIH on PTSD using this method.
Dr. Jin has joined with a Dr. Robert Silvetz and opened the Brain Treatment Center to treat people using this technology.