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Brain Stimul. 2013 May;6(3):409-15. doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2012.05.002. Epub 2012 May 29.

Transcranial ultrasound (TUS) effects on mental states: a pilot study.

Author information

  • 1Department of Anesthesiology, The University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, Tucson, AZ 85718, USA. hameroff@u.arizona.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE:

Transcranial ultrasound (TUS) can modulate brain function. To assess possible TUS modulation of mental states, we investigated effects on subjective reports of pain and mood of sub-thermal TUS versus placebo applied to frontal scalp and brain of chronic pain patient volunteers.

METHODS:

With IRB approval and informed consent, subjects with chronic pain completed two visual analog scales for pain (NRS) and mood (VAMS/Global Affect), and their vital signs were recorded 10 min prior to, and 10 min and 40 min following exposure to either subthermal TUS (8 MHz) or placebo (in a double blind crossover study) using the 12L-RS probe of a LOGIQe ultrasound imaging machine (General Electric, USA). A physician, also blinded for TUS versus placebo, applied the probe (with gel) to scalp over posterior frontal cortex, contralateral to maximal pain, for 15 seconds. A second investigator operated the ultrasound machine, randomizing TUS versus placebo. The process was then repeated, applying the opposite modality (TUS or placebo).

RESULTS:

Subjective reports of Mood/Global Affect were improved 10 min (P = 0.03) and 40 min (P = 0.04) following TUS compared with placebo. NRS pain reports slightly improved following TUS (P = 0.07) at 40 min.

CONCLUSION:

We found improvement in subjective mood 10 min and 40 min after TUS compared to placebo. TUS can have safe neurophysiological effects on brain function, and is a promising noninvasive therapy for modulating conscious and unconscious mental states and disorders. We suggest TUS acts via intra-neuronal microtubules, which apparently resonate in TUS megahertz range.

PMID:
22664271
DOI:
10.1016/j.brs.2012.05.002
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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