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Study shows brain pacemaker can reduce effects of Alzheimer’s disease

MDBR Staff Writer Published 01 February 2018

A study conducted by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center showed that deep brain stimulation (DBS) implant has declined the problem solving and decision-making skills in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Similar to a cardiac pacemaker device, the thin pacemaker wires have been implanted into the frontal lobes of the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

The study has been designed to determine the brain pacemaker’s ability to improve cognitive, behavioral, and functional aspects in patients.

The pilot study demonstrated that DBS targeting frontal brain regions can decrease the overall performance decline generally observed in people with mild or early stage Alzheimer’s.

All three participants in the study showed improvement, including LaVonne Moore who is 85 years of age.

When the study started, LaVonne Moore was not doing any meal preparation, but she could independently start preparations of a simple meal and assemble ingredients and cook the meal after two years of DBS.

The study co-author Douglas Scharre said: “We have many memory aides, tools and pharmaceutical treatments to help Alzheimer’s patients with memory, but we don’t have anything to help with improving their judgments, making good decisions, or increasing their ability to selectively focus attention on the task at hand and avoid distractions.

The study’s neurosurgeon Ali Rezai said: “This DBS brain pacemaker technology is commonly used to treat Parkinson’s disease and tremor.

“Our study findings suggest that modulation of frontal lobe networks by DBS holds promise for improving connectivity, cognitive and functional performance, and should be further studied in Alzheimer’s disease.”


Image: The DBS implant has reduced the problem solving and decision-making skills in patients with Alzheimer’s disease in a study. Photo: courtesy of ddpavumba  / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.