Researchers at the University of Virginia (UVA) are launching a study on low-intensity focused ultrasound (LIFU) to treat cocaine addiction. The treatment targets the insula region of the brain with ultrasound. This non-invasive technique hopes to reprogram brain cells and eliminate the craving for substances like cocaine. Since there is no FDA-approved medication to tackle cocaine addiction, this research could be the next breakthrough in treatment! Let’s dive into know more.
UVA’s previous study led to FDA approval for treatments relating to Parkinson’s symptoms as well as its essential tremors. Therefore, this study could be very hopeful in finding an effective treatment.
The scientists have started their clinical trials and believe that this treatment will be the first of its kind in the world. The research population includes adults ages 18 and older. Some of the participants have a history of opioid as well as excessive non-opioid use. The scientists provide two doses of LIFU with 60 and 90 watts. Outcomes are then evaluated within 90 days. The study also uses MRI to identify any structural changes in the brain.
“This trial will inform us if focused ultrasound could change the way some patients feel about cocaine. What if we could reverse brain changes caused by drug use? This would change the way we treat addiction as a whole,” says Nassima Ait-Daoud Tiouririne, the principal investigator, MD, and the director of UVA’s Center for Leading Edge Addiction Research (CLEAR).
If successful, The treatment could be incredibly beneficial to many people who are suffering from substance use disorders.
Sec. Addictive Disorders
Volume 14 – 2023 | doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2023.1211566