- seems like the cure is worse than the disease-Puff
Brain surgery for eliminating drug addiction strictly controlled
BEIJING, May 6 (Xinhuanet) -- Chinese health official on Friday re-stressed that the brain surgery for eliminating drug addiction is strictly controlled because its effectiveness and safety have not been proved and its side effects are still unclear.
Qi Guoming, chief of the Science and Education Department under the Health Ministry, said the surgery is still under clinical studies but not for clinical use.
"It is irresponsible and immoral to conduct the operation before an experimental conclusion is reached. Therefore, we are not resuming it," he said.
Brain surgery for curing drug addicts is a key research field and the ministry is thinking about applying for national fund for scientific studies given by the Ministry of Science and Technology, said Qi.
Health Ministry's spokesman Mao Qun said last month that brain surgery to curb drug cravings is a special medical practice. Those hospitals and doctors who perform the operation, as well as the equipment, environment and post-surgery observation, must be qualified and standardized.
Qi also stressed at the same day that before the ministry carries out a scheme and regulation for the clinical studies of brain surgery, any medical unit cannot perform the surgery in the name of clinical study or service.
Brain surgery was suspended on Nov. 2 last year by the ministry because of disputes over its unidentified side effects among medical experts. Evaluation and argument of the operation have been lasting ever since.
The ministry in March held a special meeting on this topic in Shaanxi Province, at which experts and officials agreed that the brain surgery is still in the phase of clinical studies and cannot be used in clinical service.
The current materials show the short-term effects of the brain surgery are comparatively good, but long-term effects are still unclear, which need further scientific studies, they said.
Meanwhile, the studies must be done in those hospitals that have a relatively good capability; that the ministry is going to set up a supervising team to verify materials and formulate a qualification standard, according to the meeting.
The experts and officials also agreed to work out strict plans and regulations for the clinical studies of the brain surgery, and clarify ethical principles that are involved in the practice. A stricter criterion of selecting the patients and observing side-effects were also urged.
Brain surgery to cure drug addiction was banned in Russia in 2002 after a patient claimed he had suffered headaches as a result of the operation, which also failed to cure him of his addiction, according to a report by AFP.
By Nov. 2 when the operation was suspended, about 500 patients had received the surgery throughout China. Most of them reported positive results, but some of them appeared abnormal symptoms, like the loss of sex drive. Enditem