Device to slow down Alzheimer’s disease

News from the web:

New research suggests a ‘brain pacemaker’ may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.  In a small study, John Hopkins University scientists found a device that sends electrical impulses to the brain’s memory regions appeared to increase neuron activity in patients who were suspected to have the disease.

The researchers implanted the device in six people with mild or early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.  The device includes electrodes, which are implanted in the brain, and a pacemaker, which is implanted in the chest, connected to the electrodes by wires.  The pacemaker orders the electrodes to continuously stimulate the brain.  This technique is known as deep brain stimulation, or DBS.

A year after implanting the device, the researchers conducted PET scans on the patients and found they actually showed an increase of glucose metabolism, which the brain uses as fuel to function.  Greater amounts of glucose metabolism also indicate greater amounts of brain cell activity, according to the researchers.

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