Ultrasound vibrations to brain may alter mood
When doctors apply ultrasound vibrations to targeted regions of the brain, the patient's mood can be altered, according to new research from the University of Arizona. The researchers used ultrasound to target microtubules, which are protein structures inside brain neurons linked to mood and consciousness.
For this study, the researchers applied transcranial ultrasound to 31 chronic pain patients, which resulted in mood improvements for up to 40 minutes after the treatments. It was a double-blind study in which neither the doctor nor the subject knew if the ultrasound machine had been switched on or off.
The researchers confirmed the patients' subjective reports of increases in positive mood with a Visual Analog Mood Scale, a standardized objective mood scale often used in psychological studies.
The treatment needs further study, but could lead to new approaches for dealing with psychological and psychiatric disorders.