Chris Scott interviews Dr. Frank Plummer, a world-renowned physician and scientist who specializes in infectious diseases. Frank has been all over the media as Patient #1 for Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) for alcohol addiction. This episode delves into Frank’s story, as well as this radical new possibility for treatment.
Dr. Frank Plummer is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Medical Microbiology at the University of Manitoba and former Scientific Director General at the National Microbiology Laboratory for the Public Health Agency of Canada. Frank led the Canadian public health response to Ebola, SARS, the H1N1 swine flu virus, and has received numerous awards and honorary degrees. Perhaps most importantly, Frank’s ongoing work is central to the mission to find a vaccine for HIV, which is something he’s currently working towards.
While Frank has had a long career as a leader in the scientific community, he once drank around a fifth of hard alcohol every night – even while working on truly groundbreaking research. His addiction continued after 12-step treatment and a liver transplant. He joined Chris Scott to discuss his story and a groundbreaking treatment called Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) that he credits with saving his life.
Here are the main topics discussed in this episode:
- How Frank fell into high-functioning alcohol addiction
- The experience of doing world-changing research while addicted to alcohol
- The nature of the addictive compulsion (and why judging one’s character makes no sense)
- Alcohol addiction as a biochemical disorder that can also be understood as a “bio-electrical” disorder
- Frank’s experience with treatments before DBS: 12-step rehabs, liver transplant
- The experience of drinking alcohol after getting a liver transplant
- How Frank found out about DBS
- Hypotheses about how DBS might work
- How DBS reduced alcohol cravings and restored “full color” to Frank’s life
- Other lifestyle routines that Frank follows in his life after alcohol addiction
- Frank’s thoughts on the viability of DBS for more people over the coming years
- Frank’s personal anecdotes and thoughts about alcohol addiction and recovery
- Read More: How brain surgery helped me battle alcohol use disorder