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Biomedical Procedures

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Biomedical Procedures

Biomedical procedures are extremely effective in treating disorders, from mild cases of anxiety to severe cases of psychosis. How did we develop these treatments? What even are these treatments? Let's take a look!

  • What are biomedical policies?
  • What are biomedical procedures?
  • How is biomedical waste disposed?
  • How is research conducted regarding new biomedical procedures?

Biomedical Procedures Definition

We have a long history of biomedical treatment for mental disorders. In medieval times, doctors would drill or crack the skull to expose part of the brain to let evil spirits and demons out of a person's head.

Biomedical procedures are treatments for mental disorders involving physical surgeries or medication.

Now, thankfully, we have much better methods to help people biomedically. Let's take a look at some of them!

Biomedical Policies and Procedures

Medication Solutions

Medication is a biomedical solution that many psychologists use to help with chemical imbalances in the brain. Psychopharmacology includes many tested drugs that help with a variety of disorders.

Biomedical Procedures, Photograph of someone pouring pills into their hand, StudySmarterMedication is a common biomedical treatment for mental disorders. Pexels.

Antidepressants

Antidepressants, as the name suggests, help treat depression! However, these drugs can also help with anxiety, OCD, and PTSD. Most antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs. Some antidepressants are selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors or SNRIs.

Regardless, they increase the amount of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, which helps promote neurogenesis, which is the formation of neurons. This will help norepinephrine or serotonin become more available and abundant in the brain. Examples of these medications include Lexapro, Zoloft, and Prozac. The main downside to antidepressants is how long they take to work. The drug needs to build up in your body, so noticeable changes could take weeks.

Anti-anxiety Drugs

SSRIs are often prescribed to help with anxiety disorders, but not always. These will help relieve tension, apprehension, and nervousness. Certain drugs, such as Xanax and Valium, reduce activity in the central nervous system. While SSRIs take a little bit to work, anti-anxiety drugs begin working much quicker, which helps for panic attacks. However, anti-anxiety drugs are known to be addicting, which can cause further issues. Tolerances can also be built up, requiring higher dosages each time.

Mood Stabilizers

With bipolar disorder, emotions swing from mania to depression rapidly. Mood stabilizers help keep mood swings more level, as well as reduce severe symptoms of mania or depression. These drugs can also help with schizoaffective disorders. The three main mood stabilizers are lithium, anticonvulsants, and antipsychotic medications.

It depends on the specific drug, but most mood stabilizers have more antimanic properties. This means that it helps with the severe symptoms of mania, such as risky behavior, overconfidence, and racing thoughts. Other drugs will have anti-depressive properties which, as you can guess, help with the depression part of bipolar.

Antipsychotic Drugs

For disorders like schizophrenia, a good way to treat symptoms is to decrease the levels of dopamine in the brain. These drugs help gradually reduce hyperactivity, mental confusion, hallucinations, and delusions that come with psychosis. Antipsychotic drugs lower dopamine but can cause tardive dyskinesia, which is tremors and twitches. These can happen in the whole body but are usually focused on the mouth, tongue, hands, and feet.

Other Procedures

There are also biomedical procedures that rely on surgery or other forms of assistance past medicine.

Electroconvulsive Therapy

ECT is very rarely used and only used for severe depression or mental distress cases. The shocks that are sent through the brain do what the medicine does. Activity in the brain is lowered and it helps promote neurogenesis. The

If it sounds painful, don't worry! People who undergo ECT are put under anesthesia, just like surgery, and have no memory of the therapy.

Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

rTMS uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. This, just like ECT, helps with severe depression and treatment-resistant people. This treatment can also be used on people with autism spectrum disorder. For rTMS, an electromagnetic coil is placed against a person's forehead. Magnetic pulses are sent through the brain, stimulating nerve cells that help with mood control and depression. The magnetic pulses move painlessly through the brain, you wouldn't even feel it!

The exact science behind why this form of treatment works isn't fully understood, but it does seem to impact how the brain is working and eases symptoms of depression. The running theory is that magnetic energy might be activating the brain's frontal left lobe, which is associated with positive feelings. This lobe usually shrinks when people have depression, limiting positive emotions.

Deep-Brain Stimulation

While it isn't the easiest treatment, DBS can help with depression and OCD. Conditions with tremors and seizures, such as epilepsy and Parkinson's disease, can also be treated with deep-brain stimulation. This treatment is a bit more intense than rTMS or ECT, as it requires electrodes to be implanted in the brain. The electrodes create electrical impulses that can control abnormal brain activity, automatically adjusting for chemical imbalances in the brain. The stimulation is controlled by a little generator that is surgically placed under the skin in the upper chest.

DBS can be performed on both sides of the brain, or just one, depending on the specific symptoms. The settings can also be changed to help with side effects or ineffectiveness.

Psychosurgery

This treatment is rarely used, given its irreversibility and high risk. In essence, people who undergo psychosurgery have part of their brain tissue removed to either alleviate symptoms or change behavior. Doesn't sound too fun. One of the most well-known psychosurgical procedures is the lobotomy, where the nerves connecting the frontal lobe and emotion-controlling parts of the inner brain are cut. This was performed to calm uncontrollably emotional or violent patients, but had very little success and often caused significant problems.

Biomedical Procedures, Photograph of a surgery, StudySmarterBrain surgery can be very risky and is usually only done in severe cases. Pexels.

Biomedical Waste Disposal Procedure

Biomedical waste is anything, liquid or solid, with biological components that comes from places like hospitals. The garbage in your home's trash can likely doesn't pose any danger, but medical facilities and laboratories have a variety of waste that can be harmful and have to be handled properly. This waste can also include:

  • Petri dishes

  • Culture tubes

  • Syringes

  • Needles

  • Blood vials

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Waste should be segregated into groups of similar substances so it can be disposed of properly.

Dry Biohazardous Waste

These materials should be disposed of in a red biohazard bag and placed in a bin with a biohazard label:

  • Contaminated cultures, petri dishes, culture flasks

  • Plastic pipet tips

  • Paper towels contaminated with biohazardous materials.

  • Bacteria, viruses, and live or attenuated vaccine

  • Waste contaminated from excretion or secretion from infectious people

Sharps Hypodermic needles, blades, dental wires, broken glass, and Pasteur pipettes should be disposed of in a designated sharps container. These materials can cut skin or plastic bags and should be kept safe for disposal.

Liquid Waste A conventional sanitary sewage system is best for liquid waste, as long as it's diluted with bleach.

Pathological Waste

Anything that is infected with a human pathogen, either naturally or artificially for studies, needs to be disposed of immediately after generation. Such waste can include tissues injected with human pathogens, infectious disease agents, and animal carcasses injected with high-hazard chemicals.

Animal carcasses might be purposefully subjected to high-hazard chemicals or live human pathogens so researchers can see their impact on the brain and body.

Outdated Pharmaceuticals

Used or expired pharmaceuticals are disposed of in specific containers based on their type. Chemotherapy, general non-RCRA pharmaceuticals, and RCRA pharmaceuticals each have their own containers.

Biomedical Research Procedures

When it comes to treatment, it can seem like developing new techniques are simply trial-and-error. However, there are plenty of ways to assess the effectiveness of treatments, which are usually done via clinical trials.

Clinical trials are controlled research studies with the goal to assess the effectiveness of a treatment using consenting human subjects.

Client Testimonials

Patients who get treatment for specific disorders will relay how they are doing with their psychiatrist. For instance, a psychiatrist might ask how a specific SSRI is doing at treating a patient's generalized anxiety disorder, in which the patient would testify its effectiveness. However, these can be unreliable for many reasons.

Regression Towards the Mean

Treatment and other biomedical interventions are often done in cases of severe distress or significant disorders. If and when these symptoms are less severe, the patient may attest their improvement to the treatment. However, even without treatment, extreme distress will often decrease on its own, moving towards the average range of symptoms.

Justification of Effort Effect

People don't want to waste time, money, and effort on a treatment that doesn't work. Therefore, patients may subconsciously believe that a specific treatment is working great because they are working hard to reach a goal of wellness.

Biomedical Procedures, Photograph of a therapist and a patient having a meeting, StudySmarterTherapists will often check in on treatment efficacy. Pexels.

The Placebo Effect

This is one you've likely heard discussed a lot. Patients tend to feel better after being in treatment because they expect to feel better.

If a patient is given a sugar pill instead of a real medication, but not told that the pill is fake, they make experience an improvement in symptoms.

Empirical Research

Empirically validated treatments are proven through various trials of clinical trials. These treatments are compared to placebo treatments, or no treatments at all, to see how effective they are at mitigating symptoms.

Example of Biomedical Procedures

As covered earlier, there is a wide variety of biomedical procedures that someone could have. Let's take a deeper look into one of the most common biomedical procedures -- antidepressants.

When you hear the word "procedure," you might think it has to be an operation, but that's not always the case. Medication serves as an essential biomedical procedure for thousands of people. This medication helps people struggling with their mental health get back on their feet and take their lives back.

One of the beliefs about the cause of depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. This can be caused by a lack of serotonin present in the synapses (the space between the neurons). Due to this knowledge about the brain and the advancement in medicine and technology, specific antidepressants, such as selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have been invented to help with this issue, as stated earlier.

Antidepressants are prescribed to not only people with major depressive disorder but also people with anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and social phobia. As you can garner from the names, not all of these disorders have a depressive component comparable to major depressive disorder. However, despite that difference, it has been found that antidepressants are successful in treating more than just depression, leading to their prescription for other disorders and becoming a widely known and used biomedical procedure.


Biomedical Procedures - Key takeaways

  • Biomedical procedures are treatments for mental disorders involving physical surgeries or medication.
  • Electroconvulsive therapy promotes neurogenesis and simulates medication effects. ECT is rarely used.
  • Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation sends magnetic pulses through the brain to stimulate nerve cells for mood control and depression.
  • Deep Brain Stimulation involves electrodes implanted into the brain for automatically adjusting chemical balances.
  • Regression towards the mean is the natural improvement and regulation of extreme distress, which may make treatments seem more effective than they actually are.

Frequently Asked Questions about Biomedical Procedures

The biomedical approach has the goal of treating and reworking the brain itself through medication or physical procedures.

Biomedical therapy can help treat depression through the use of antidepressants and mood stabilizers to help depressive symptoms.

Psychotherapy, as discussed in other articles, is a go-to method to help someone overcome personal issues or attain personal growth. Biomedical therapy, on the other hand, has the goal of treating and reworking the brain itself through medication or physical procedures.

Biomedical treatment is medication, procedures, or other physical interventions to help with reworking the brain.

Final Biomedical Procedures Quiz

Question

What is the goal of biomedical therapy?

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Answer

Treating and reworking the brain itself through medication or physical procedures.

Show question

Question

How are psychotherapy and biomedical therapy different?

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Answer

Psychotherapy is a go-to method to help someone overcome personal issues or attain personal growth. Biomedical therapy, on the other hand, has the goal of treating and reworking the brain itself through medication or physical procedures.

Show question

Question

What is psychopharmacology?

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Answer

Medications and drugs that are used to treat mental disorders.

Show question

Question

What are the two types of antidepressants?

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Answer

SSRI and SNRI

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Question

Antidepressants help promote what?

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Answer

Neurogenesis

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Question

What do anti-anxiety medication do?

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Answer

Reduce activity in the central nervous system

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Question

What are the three main mood stabilizers?

Show answer

Answer

Lithium, anticonvulsants, antipsychotic medications

Show question

Question

Antipsychotic medications reduce levels of what?

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Answer

Dopamine

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Question

Long-term antipsychotic medications can cause what condition, which shows as tremors and tics?

Show answer

Answer

Tardive Dyskinesia

Show question

Question

What is ECT?

Show answer

Answer

Electroconvulsive therapy

Show question

Question

What is rTMS?

Show answer

Answer

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation

Show question

Question

What does ECT do?

Show answer

Answer

Reduce activity in the brain and help promote neurogenesis

Show question

Question

What does rTMS do?

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Answer

Stimulate nerve cells that help with mood control and depression

Show question

Question

What is DBS?

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Answer

Deep brain stimulation

Show question

Question

What do the electrodes do in DBS?

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Answer

The electrodes create electrical impulses that can control abnormal brain activity, automatically adjusting for chemical imbalances in the brain. The stimulation is controlled by a little generator that is surgically placed under the skin in the upper chest. 

Show question

Question

What is psychosurgery?

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Answer

Surgically having part of their brain tissue removed to either alleviate symptoms or change behavior

Show question

Question

What is a lobotomy?

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Answer

Cutting the nerves between the frontal lobe and emotion-controlling parts of the inner brain

Show question

Question

True or False: Biomedical procedures are treatments for mental disorders involving physical surgeries or medication.

Show answer

Answer

True 

Show question

Question

Fill in the blank: Neurogenesis is the promotion of __________. 

Show answer

Answer

neurons 

Show question

Question

Lexapro, Zoloft, and Prozac are examples of what type of drug? 

Show answer

Answer

Antidepressants 

Show question

Question

Fill in the blank: For disorders like schizophrenia, a good way to treat symptoms is to decrease the levels of _________ in the brain. 

Show answer

Answer

dopamine 

Show question

Question

True or False: Antipsychotic drugs lower dopamine but can cause tardive dyskinesia, which is tremors and twitches. 

Show answer

Answer

True 

Show question

Question

True or False: Mood stabilizers help keep mood swings more level, as well as reduce severe symptoms of mania or depression. 

Show answer

Answer

True 

Show question

Question

Which type of drugs will help relieve tension, apprehension, and nervousness? 

Show answer

Answer

Anti-anxiety Drugs 

Show question

Question

Xanax and Valium are examples of which type of drugs? 

Show answer

Answer

Anti-anxiety Drugs 

Show question

Question

True or False: Conditions with tremors and seizures, such as epilepsy and Parkinson's disease, can also be treated with deep-brain stimulation. 

Show answer

Answer

True 

Show question

Question

True or False: People who undergo ECT are put under anesthesia, just like surgery, and have no memory of the therapy. 

Show answer

Answer

True 

Show question

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