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Science Points to Brain “Pacemaker” As Possible Solution In Dementia Fight

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istock_000015409319xsmallThe first patient in the U.S. has undergone a delicate surgery to try and bring to an end the effects of dementia.

The pacemaker-like device, which uses deep brain stimulation, involves drilling holes into the skull to implant wires into the fornix on either side of the brain. The idea is to focus away from drug treatments due to no efficiency seen in the clinical trials to help seniors keep a lifetime of memories and the ability to perform the simplest of daily responsibilities.

“The wires are attached to a pacemaker-like device, the stimulator, which generates tiny electrical impulses into the brain 130 times a second. The patients don’t feel the current,” said Dr. Rosenberg of Johns Hopkins University.

Some 40 patients are expected to receive the deep brain stimulation implant approximately over the next year at Johns Hopkins and four other institutions in the U.S.

Alzheimer’s disease is estimated to increase in seniors more and more by the decades. Experts say that by 2050, the number of people age 65 or older with Alzheimer’s may triple, from 5.2 million to a projected 11-16 million, unless effective treatments are found. Deep brain stimulation might prove to be a useful instrument for treating Alzheimer’s or at least help the development of other treatments based on this method.

Are you helping a relative with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia? Bethany Village can provide answers and support.

Written by Bethany Village

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