The Scientist Who Got a Brain Implant to Cure His Alcoholism

Deep brain stimulation could help curb drug and alcohol addiction

Left: Frank Plummer. Photo: Kevin Van Paassen, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Right: An X-ray of Gerod Buckhalter’s brain, where scientists have placed a deep brain stimulation device. Credit: West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute

For years, Frank Plummer was dependent on alcohol, drinking 20 ounces of scotch a day. An infectious disease scientist who worked in Kenya at the height of the HIV epidemic, Plummer turned to alcohol in the 1980s to deal with the stress of his job, and…