Deep Brain Stimulation for a Patient With Autism and OCD
As Seton Brain and Spine Institute’s chief of functional neurosurgery and neuroscience, Robert Buchanan, MD, provides Austin,Texas, patients with quality care spanning epilepsy and spine surgery. In this role, Robert Buchanan, MD also administers treatments such as deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson’s disease patients.
As reported by the news station KVUE in 2015, Dr. Buchanan has employed the DBS approach for a patient living with autism and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The patient’s mother placed him in the care of Seton Brain and Spine Institute, which undertook a pioneering use of DBS for this condition. As described by the physician, once the stimulator was turned off, the patient “lit up” and interacted with people in the room in a way that was new and strikingly positive.
Prior to treatment, the patient had lived with a severe form of OCD almost from birth that put him through continuous “mental gymnastics” and made doing almost anything without fuss difficult. Following the surgery, his mother noticed that her son had increased capacity and desire to communication. The patient himself describes DBS, which involves targeted surgical electrodes in the brain, as providing him with increased focus and making him more willing to engage with others in conversation.