The Xuanwu Hospital in Beijing will experiment with a new therapy, electric acupuncture, to treat drug addicts around the end of this year.
The first batch of 30 drug addicts have agreed to take part in this pioneering experiment, a neurosurgery expert in the functional neurosurgery department of Xuanwu Hospital said here Monday.
The therapy, unprecedented in the world, was designed to stimulate acupoints associated with drug cravings in the addicts' brains by the interference of a match-sized microelectronic stimulator, an expert said.
This Chinese rehabilitation technique has the advantage of not causing permanent harm to patient's brains, as opposed to the controversial brain surgery that opens the skull.
In the course of treatment, a patient will first have a 3-hour operation, in which a chip-sized small stimulator will be put into his chest. And the patient will undergo a week-long medical observation. One month later, the patient will be treated with electric acupuncture.
China had 791,000 drug addicts by the end of 2004, up 6.8 percent from 2003. In 2004, there were 273,000 drug addicts receiving compulsory drug rehabilitation across the country and about 88,000 former drug users who had abandoned drugs for more than three years.
Beijing Xuanwu Hospital is renowned for its neurosurgery department. Experts in the hospital had successfully saved the life of Liu Hai-juo, a popular Hong Kong television anchorwoman who was comatose in a British rail accident in 2002 and declared uncurable by British doctors.