A new study from the McGill University has revealed that listening to music is just as pleasurable as food, drugs and sex. Listening to music releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain important for more tangible pleasures associated with sex or great food.
Physicians have known for 2,000 years that electricity could help troubled minds—even before they knew what electricity was. Roman Emperor Claudius pressed electric eels to his temples to quell headaches. Sixteenth-century doctors induced seizures with camphor to treat psychiatric illnesses.
Now, research is advancing rapidly on a host of far more precise techniques to stimulate or calm the brain with electricity, magnets or even ultrasound and infrared waves. Most of the therapies target severe, resistant depression—a problem for nearly seven million Americans. But some are also showing promise for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorders, schizophrenia, addictions and memory problems.
Some battery-operated brain stimulators are even being marketed for home use, so patients can treat their own depression and insomnia, though some neurologists say the evidence for these devices is thin.