bannerHON
img
HONnews
HONnews
img PATIENT / PARTICULIER img PROFESSIONNEL DE SANTE img WEBMESTRE img
img
 
img
HONcode sites
All Web sites
HONselect
News
Conferences
Images

Themes:
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q
R S T U V W X Y Z
Browse archive:
2014: J J M A M F J
2013: D N O S A J

 
  Other news for:
Alzheimer Disease
Brain
Memory Disorders
 Resources from HONselect
Brain Stimulation Shows Early Promise Against Alzheimer's
German pilot study found four of six patients kept, improved their memories one year later

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, May 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Four of six Alzheimer's patients responded to deep brain stimulation in a pilot study, German researchers report.

Meanwhile, 42 Alzheimer's patients in the United States and Canada have been enrolled in the largest study to date to examine the use of deep brain stimulation to treat the disease.

There are caveats about the research, even though deep brain stimulation is already used as a treatment for Parkinson's disease.

"The research is very preliminary. We have good intentions, but there has to be rigorous testing with a 'control' group," said Dr. Stephen Salloway, director of neurology and the Memory and Aging Program at Brown University, in Rhode Island.

Still, "we're opening a new era of exploration for Alzheimer's treatment," said Salloway, who studies brain stimulation. His hospital, Butler Hospital in Providence, R.I., is taking part in the new, larger study that's enrolled patients.

There's no cure for Alzheimer's disease, and physicians have no way to stop it from getting worse and robbing patients of their memory and ability to function.

"Medications may help patients have a better quality of life, but probably don't have any long-term effect in terms of slowing down the disease or improving their life expectancy," said Dr. Ricardo Osorio, a research assistant professor at the New York University School of Medicine.

Enter deep brain stimulation. It's best known as a treatment that helps patients with advanced Parkinson's disease regain control of their movements. The treatment uses electrodes to continuously zap the brain with pulses of electricity.

In the German study, researchers tested brain stimulation on six patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. They targeted a part of the brain known as the nucleus basalis of Meynert. This region has been linked to a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which helps the brain think properly.

The brains of the patients were stimulated for 11 months after they went through a month of two weeks on and two weeks off treatment. Over the year, the memory skills of four patients stayed stable or improved while memory declined in two others.

The German study didn't compare the treated patients to a "control" group of other patients with Alzheimer's who didn't undergo deep brain stimulation, making it difficult to know if the treatment actually had any effect.

The researchers reported there were no severe side effects from the brain stimulation itself, although the devices malfunctioned in two patients, requiring them to undergo surgeries to implant the electrodes again.

The German researchers report that they've received funding from various drug and medical device companies, and one co-author reports co-holding patents on a type of brain stimulation and being a shareholder of a company that plans to develop new stimulators.

Last week, the Functional Neuromodulation group announced that their new research project has enrolled its 42 patients. Some of the patients will undergo stimulation of a part of the brain linked to memory; the others will have a device implanted but it will not be turned on.

The idea is to help a brain "circuit" work properly again, Brown University's Salloway explained. The treatment may even coax the creation of new neurons and connections in the brain.

As for cost, Salloway said Medicare covers brain stimulation for Parkinson's patients. "The biggest cost is the surgery for the implantation," he said. "Then there would be ongoing care, but hopefully the person doesn't need a lot of care and maintenance."

Osorio pointed out that deep brain stimulation is "not the therapy of choice" for Parkinson's disease, and is only used in select cases. He predicted that brain stimulation will be a second or third "therapy of choice" for Alzheimer's if it's even shown to work since it requires surgery to implant the electrodes.

The new German study appears in the May 6 online edition of the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

More information

For more about Alzheimer's disease, visit the Alzheimer's Association.

SOURCES: Stephen Salloway, M.D., professor, neurology, and director, neurology and the Memory and Aging Program, Brown University, Providence, R.I.; Ricardo Osorio, M.D., research assistant professor, New York University School of Medicine, New York City; May 6, 2014, Molecular Psychiatry, online; Functional Neuromodulation, news release, April 30, 2014

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=687514

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
Brain
Therapeutics
Memory
Research Personnel
Equipment and Supplies
The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


Home img About us img MediaCorner img HON newsletter img Site map img Ethical policies img Contact