Untangling the Brain Circuits in Mental Illness

Untangling the Brain Circuits in Mental Illness

(gentle music) – Neuropsychiatric conditions
are some of the most severe and devastating conditions
that can happen to anyone. At the same time it’s probably the biggest cause of worldwide disability. The ability and thought of
being able to treat these or even cure some of
these diseases of the mind has been a dream of mine
since I was very young. – Eddie has really been
doing pioneering work on recording activity from the human brain. And so when he first
heard about this project he approached me and we
started brainstorming about it. And it just sounded like an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. – We’re here today to discuss an exciting new project that we’re about
to launch that’s a really core part of the new
Obama BRAIN Initiative. The Defensive Advanced Research
Projects Agency, DARPA, has selected us to help
study how the brain works and what goes awry in
neuropsychiatric conditions. The Center for Neural
Engineering and Prosthetics was a collaborative team
between UCSF and UC Berkeley. – We both co-directed
the Center for Neural Engineering and Prostheses. My lab conducts research
in brain-machine interfaces which is an interdisciplinary field that basically includes
engineering and neuroscience. Brain-machine interfaces is about converting thought into action. So you can think of this as having an implantable device in the brain, this BMI, brain-machine
interface, will translate this neural activity into control commands to drive a prosthetic actuator like a robotic arm, an exoskeleton. This new project that we are starting uses the same principles
but they are all applied to brain circuits just only in the brain. – One of our goals is to
take brain-machine interfaces to the next level. We want to take this
technology to the point where it allows us to understand
really complex function of the brain, things like
our emotions, our mood. We want to be able to
address neuropsychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress
disorder, chronic pain. – The current state is that we have some treatments but they’re far from perfect. – Medications, for example,
can affect the whole body and don’t target specific
circuits in the brain. – We don’t actually know how they work. And that might be fine
if they worked great. But they don’t. – The idea is to learn
how these complicated, large-scale brain circuits work. Then this BMI should be able to detect this abnormal activity
and electrically stimulate in some areas to alleviate the symptoms. – What’s really exciting
about this project is we’re going to look at these disorders and the things in the brain
that cause these disorders in a way that no one has ever done before. We know, for example, many of the parts of the brain that are really important and play critical roles
in these disorders. But what we don’t understand is how these parts of the
brain talk to each other and how they interact in ways that contribute to these disorders. – I consider it an enormous responsibility and huge privilege to
be part of this project. Almost all of us know someone who’s been afflicted by many of these conditions and I think it’s the kind of thing that, as a doctor, I see
patients and treat them one-by-one all the time in my practice. But this is the kind of
dream project that allows our science to potentially
treat millions of patients that are afflicted with
these kind of ailments. (gentle music)

7 Replies to “Untangling the Brain Circuits in Mental Illness”

  1. This is absolutely and positively nuts!!!

    Obama's "Brain Initiative" sounds like another version of MK-ULTRA in which U.S. soldiers and other non-suspecting subjects (like Ted Kazinski) were drugged with LSD and other psycho-actives.

    If your think George Orwell's "1984" was a prediction of bad things to come and government-sponsored mind control (and forced druggings like the USSR), this should prove beyond doubt that he was right on the money. 

  2. Here's a link that describes MK-ULTRA that I alluded to in my previous comment:


    Folks, it's time to wake up and pull your head out of your behind because the Neo Nazis in the government are putting together the fixings to turn the U.S. into an all out "psychiatric state". 

  3. Military Funds Brain-Computer Interfaces to Control Feelings
    Excellent. There are lot of amazing possibilities! 😀

  4. Hello : I have a 15 years old son that is having a really big deregulation and the psychiatrists are just giving medicines based on the symptoms. Is really frustrating that any day he is worst. I am trying to find some help to do brain studies …. he is a really intelligent boy but with a lot of emotional problems … we live in Mexico and is like we are far away from this kind of knowledge… I will appreciate any guideline … I am a desperate mom The doctors said that he is borderline and narcissist at the same time and can't stop with his big depression. 3 hospitalizations 2 suicides try , and a lot of cuts and changes in his behavior ……

  5. Mental health is demon possession some have more than others demons in a person only Jesus can deliver some one from this .

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