Neuroscientists have found a way to eliminate the specific fear (phobia) of the brains of patients by using a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and brain scanning technology. This technique is expected to change the lives of those who suffer from excruciating acute phobia.
The process is called Decoded Neurofeedback requires no conscious effort of the subjects to overcome their fears, but rely on identifying patterns of the brain associated with a certain fear, which then 'overwritten' by using a 'gift' system.
|An extreme fear of spiders and other arachnids called Arachnophobia. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1gTy0j)|
Even better, the phobia is gone forever after treatment. The researchers also say the technique will be used to treat a condition of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
"When inducing phobia memories in the brain, we were able to develop a fast and accurate method to read by using AI algorithms," explains Ben Seymour one of the researchers from the University of Cambridge, England.
"The challenge then is how to find ways to reduce or remove the phobia memory, without ever consciously raise it up again."
On the study involving 17 participants, and the scientists sought to associate a memory that triggers fear, with a prize or something positive.
|One of the brain scans mapped with AI. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1gTxcu)|
"As a result, the memory features that were previously set to predict a painful surprise, are now predicting something positive," said lead researcher Ai Koizumi of the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International in Kyoto, Japan.
In further tests, when participants are confronted with pictures that can trigger the phobia, scientists no longer find any signs of fear or increased activity in the amygdala (part of the brain that processes fear).
This treatment technique was in contrast to conventional medical therapy, which exposes the patient directly to the cause of their fear. And conventional therapy is often successful. After trying hard to face his fears, most people just get rid of phobias.
But this new technique offers a treatment process which is completely painless for the patient is not even aware that they was on fight against their phobia. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | SCIENCE ALERT]
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