Moscow-based health-care giant, Miasnikov Healtech, recently announced the public availability of BBT, an advanced lower-cost form of mental health treatment. Studies have shown that BBT is effective in reduction of symptoms of Clinical Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, ADD, and ADHD, and has also shown some promise in the rehabilitation of criminals, drug addicts, and perverts. A related technique, SBT, has also been shown to be able to reduce cholesterol levels in patients willing to undergo the procedure.
The origins of the technique can be found as far back as the 1920s, when the Russian secret police, later the KGB, used similar methods to squash dissent against the communist government. Modern, clinical developments have increased the safety and accuracy of BBT, enabling practitioners to target specific mental disorders or behaviors with a minimum of risk, side effects and permanent damage to the patient.
Currently there are no clinics delivering BBT but at least 24 facilities have trained personnel ready and hope to be delivering the service in a matter of weeks or months. Adoption of BBT has been thwarted by patients' group and others speaking out vehemently against the procedure, similar to the public outcry against TeenScreen in the USA.
The controversy was fueled by a recent article in the Minsk Daily Ruble that detailed for the first time, exactly what BBT is. Miasnikov Healtech's spokesperson stated, "I know this sounds too simple, but basically you take a baseball bat and whack the person firmly at a specific point on the skull to effect a recovery. BBT, or Baseball Bat Therapy is actually safe and effective when performed by trained medical personnel."
Misnikov Healtech's stock plummeted 76% when news of what BBT actually was hit the public, but the health care giant is undeterred in their plan to bring this therapy to those suffering from mental illness. Their CEO responded, "What most people fail to realize is that all mental health treatment, especially lobotomy, electric shocks to the brain, and psychotropic drugs, have always worked by destroying parts of the brain. This has long been known to the psychiatric community though it has been a bit of a well-kept secret. Our positioning is to be more honest with the public and thus provide them the help they need for much less money than the other treatments."
In clinical trials involving 472 persons with various mental illness, 53 reported definite improvement of their symptoms after the first whack, and were delighted that they were miraculously cured without having to endure the second treatment. 103 patients either reported no improvement or were comatose and thus they were given several more treatments in order to achieve the therapeutic results needed. One ADHD child who used to disrupt his classes has now been able to stare at the blackboard for more than 37 hours without blinking, what the researchers termed a "miracle". Five patients died in the clinical trial but no funding was available for an autopsy so it is believed that they may have had some underlying condition that resulted in death rather than the treatment. The other 311 patients did not return to the clinic after their first treatment. The researchers assumed that they must have experienced either a complete cure or lack of memory of where the clinic was located. These were counted as successful outcomes because, according to one researcher, "well, if they're cured, that's great, and if they just plain can't remember how to get back here, then they've probably forgotten what was wrong with them anyway. Either way, BBT is good therapy."
Patients' groups claim that the procedure is brutal and dangerous. Healtech's spokesperson counters that argument with a precaution, "only trained and licensed BBT practitioners should whack someone with a baseball bat in order to treat mental illness. You have to know exactly where to hit and how hard, based on a complex algorithm which includes the patient's age, weight, severity of symptoms and how polite they were to you when they walked in. It's exactly the same as with drugs, lobotomy and shock to destroy brain cells and treat the patient. You gotta know what you're doing."
In the related procedure, SBT or "Swift Boot Therapy", a practitioner wearing a steel-toed boot soundly kicks the patient in the area of the liver. As the liver is responsible for producing the majority of the body's cholesterol, naturally the level in the bloodstream is reduced. Though it may seem unconventional, it is the same basic operation of most drugs used to lower cholesterol. As they destroy the liver chemically, the liver is unable to produce cholesterol. SBT is less expensive as most of the time, only one treatment is required.
Miasnikov Healtech is in negotiations with the "Louisville Slugger" company in Kentucky, which is vying for exclusive rights to produce the BBT instrument.