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Monmouth College’s first-ever Trubeck telescope public viewing event

September 25, 2015

Monmouth College Photo

Dr. William Winslade, a Monmouth College alum, gave a lecture on Thursday, September 17 about E.C.T. (electro convulsive therapy), deep brain stimulation and the electric helmet on patients with serious mental illnesses such as bipolar disease, mania and depression.
The lecture attracted faculty members and students. Two Monmouth College students, Paige Gerard and Simone Johnson, attended the lecture because they both are interested in going into the same field as Winslade. “I want to be like him when I’m older,” Gerard said.

Winslade began his speech by defining E.C.T. “All it is are electrodes placed on the sides of the skull and forehead and electric current is passed through the brain. Nobody knows how it works or what it works despite all of the efforts that have been made,” said Winslade.

“It’s really very simple; all you have to do is drill a hole in somebody’s skull and you put electrodes into their brain. Deep Brain Stimulation has become an effective treatment for one particular condition and it has nothing to do with psychiatry,” said Winslade. “This one condition is Parkinson’s disease. Depression is the only psychiatric condition that deep brain stimulation can treat, which is also treated by E.C.T.”

Winslade then moved on to explain the purpose and uses of an electrical helmet.

“All it is is a helmet that emits a mild electrical field around and through a person’s skull,” said Winslade. “The helmet only treats glioblastoma.”

Monmouth College Photo


He then informed the audience of a D.I.Y. kind of brain stimulation that was created by a man in Atlanta, Georgia. This involves putting electrodes on the outside of a person’s head (like E.C.T.) but requires a 12-volt battery, and the person using it controls the zaps.

Winslade also explained how each treatment is useful and different. The difference between deep brain stimulation and E.C.T is that deep brain stimulation is “localized,” and does not send a charge completely through the brain like E.C.T does.

“E.C.T. turns out to be useful, but only for certain things. Deep Brain Stimulation can only be useful for Parkinson’s tremors. The Electrical Helmet offers very little to people with glioblastoma,” said Winslade.

Winslade’s final thoughts were received in good humor. “Electricity is everywhere, you can’t get away from it and the medical community particularly is intrigued by it at the moment. So, I just wanted to bring you up to speed and give you a little bit of a charge.”

Dr. Winslade is currently the James Wade Rockwell Professor of Philosophy and Medicine at the Institute for Medical Humanities.

Nhung Vu
Contributing Writer

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