Brain Stimulation & Mental Health

Published: March 29, 2022

With over 85 billion neurons and 150 trillion neural connections, our brains are complex systems, so it’s no wonder that many of us experience mental health issues at some point in our lives. While talk therapy and medications are commonly used as treatments, a growing body of research is showing that new technological interventions can help, too—sometimes in cases where nothing else has worked. Alik Widge is a psychiatrist, biomedical engineer, and neuroscientist at the University of Minnesota. In the clinic, he treats patients for a variety of conditions, including anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, substance addictions, and post-traumatic stress disorder. In his lab, he focuses on the development of closed loop neuro-devices that sense the brain and respond in real time to regulate the brain circuits involved in mental illness. Current technologies being developed include methods for restoring healthy function in brain circuits controlling decision-making, self-regulation, and mental flexibility. The author of over 100 scientific articles, Dr. Widge and his research have been featured on NPR and in Futurism, Science News, Quartz, Gizmodo, and Nature. This recording is part of The Secret Science Club, a science lecture, arts, and performance series, based at The Bell House in Brooklyn, curated by Dorian Devins and Margaret Mittelbach.