By implanting deeply into the brain a pacemaker that activates its vital areas with electricity in the hope that it will compensate to some extent dementia damage, it was performed in three Alzheimer patients, the first invasive attempt to cure the disease.
This first small test by scientists in the US has left promises, as it seems to improve the quality of life of patients, slowing the worsening of the disease and allowing them to maintain their autonomy in their day-to-day activities for longer.
The new technique of “deep brain stimulation”, which plants two permanent microscopic electrodes, which are linked to an electric pulse generator under the skin of the chest, through deep-brain surgery, has already been tested in many thousands of patients with severe Parkinson’s and is now experimentally tested on Alzheimer’s.
Researchers at the Neurological Institute of the Ohio State Medical Center, headed by Professor Douglas Shar, who published the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, three Alzheimer patients, of whom both improved.
The 85-year-old patient, LaBon Moore, can now cook, dress alone and go out, but it remains unclear whether this is actually due to treatment or something else like the “placebo” power in mind.
Other scientists have estimated that at this experimental stage, it is still too early to say how much the new method can actually counterbalance the downsizing of cognitive functions of Alzheimer’s patients. A larger clinical trial will follow.
Researchers do not hope for a treatment that will reverse the lesions, but to re-activate areas of the brain so as to mitigate the effects of dementia. Alzheimer’s is the major cause of neurodegenerative dementia. So far it is an incurable condition and patients are growing every year around the world.