Friday, August 25, 2017
PACEMAKER IN THE BRAIN MAY HELP DEMENTIA PATIENTS MEMORY
A key to improving memory in patients with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia may be electrical brain stimulation. Promising new research suggest individuals may benefit from stimulation by implanting a "pacemaker" in the brain. For the first time, neuroscientists at the University of Pennsylvania have shown that stimulating the brain when it is foggy can boost memory function significantly. This means stimulating the brain when it is sharp can impair thinking skills. "Our study shows the timing of stimulation is crucial', psychologist Michael Kahana, who lead the research time, said. The journal Current Biology hailed the findings as a breakthrough. At nine medical centers around the country, researchers tested 150 patients receiving epilepsy treatment. While receiving brain stimulation, individuals were asked to study and recall lists of words. The stimulation came from electrodes already in their brain that were part of their care. The team hopes to start clinical trials with memory-impaired populations. This would eventually include those with Alzheimer's disease.