medical-marvel-ear-bridgePlenty has been written and aired this year on the epidemic of addiction to opioids, both legally prescribed and illicitly acquired. What’s less publicized is the miserable roughing-up these drugs have given the body of an addict who tries to get clean.

The recovery road starts with a pounding that many might not have the nerve to deal with.

But a gadget out of Versailles, Ind., is all about nerves, and may help addicts sit out their withdrawal in relative serenity, using an FDA-cleared “neural nerve stimulator” designed to ambush pain signals fired from the brain and keeps them from doing their dreadful work. Electrodes affixed around the ear aim to interrupt three nerves most responsible for inflicting the pain. A similar technology is being tested for use to treat inflammatory diseases.

“You sit somebody down that’s got opiate withdrawal, put the device on them, and in 30 minutes they’ll be very comfortable,” says Brian Carrico, vice president of Innovative Health Solutions, the company selling the device. Initial tests on about 40 addicts in St. Louis, Dayton and Union County, Ind., produced a 90-percent success rate for detox, he says. The single-use, $495 device runs for five days as a bridge from addiction to therapy. It’s called, as you might expect, The Bridge.

The pain-free outcome affords recovering addicts that its effective with a fighting chance to recover. Then they can pour their hearts out in counseling, if they can actually get set up with a substance-abuse counselor to talk to. But that’s another story.

More Marvels

An Alzheimer's Patch: It’s just a low-tech estrogen patch, but a study by the Mayo Clinic finds that with post-menopausal women, use of the patch may help reduce the odds of developing Alzheimer’s disease, as reported in Tech Times.

Talk about DIY: with the aid of a handy clip-on microscope, a smartphone camera can zoom in enough to enable men to do their own sperm count in private instead of at a clinic, as explained in New Scientist.