Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Article: Testing brain pacemakers to zap Alzheimer's damage
Then doctors at Ohio State University explained the hope — that constant electrical stimulation of brain circuits involved in memory and thinking might keep those neural networks active for longer, essentially bypassing some of dementia's damage.
Lozano's team found the first clue that it's possible by implanting six Alzheimer's patients in Canada. After at least 12 months of continuous stimulation, brain scans showed a sign of more activity in areas targeted by Alzheimer's. Suddenly, the neurons there began using more glucose, the fuel for brain cells.
"It looked like a blackout before. We were able to turn the lights back on in those areas," Lozano said.
While most Alzheimer's patients show clear declines in function every year, one Canadian man who has had the implants for four years hasn't deteriorated, Lozano said, although he cautioned that there's no way to know whether that's due to the DBS.
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