A Stimulating Finding in Mild Alzheimer's
Date: May 14, 2012
A study on a handful of people with suspected mild Alzheimer’s disease (AD) suggests that a device that sends continuous electrical impulses to specific “memory” regions of the brain appears to increase neuronal activity. Results of the study using deep brain stimulation, a therapy already used in some patients with Parkinson’s disease and depression, may offer hope for at least some with AD, an intractable disease with no cure.
“While our study was designed mainly to establish safety, involved only six people and needs to be replicated on a larger scale, we don’t have another treatment for AD at present that shows such promising effects on brain function,” said the study’s first author, Gwen Smith, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. The research, published in the Archives of Neurology, was conducted while Smith was on the faculty at the University of Toronto, and will be continuing at Toronto, Hopkins, and other U.S. sites in the future. The study was led by Andres M. Lozano, chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Toronto.