‘Brain pacemaker’ stimulates memory
Current science holds that exercise is good for the brain, but can that healthy stimulation come from an implantable electrode? Researchers in the United States and Canada are conducting a Phase Two clinical trial to test embedded electrodes that provide constant impulses to the memory centers in the brain.
One of the patients in the trial, Norma-Jean McLaren, 69, is the third person in her family known to have Alzheimer’s disease. She eagerly signed up for the trial in Toronto, which required her to have two electrodes implanted in her brain and an el3ectrical regulator box implanted in her chest. Her husband, Nathan Edelson, calls it a ‘brain pacemaker,’ according to an article by CBS News.
Researchers have been working on the idea of deep-brain stimulation for memory regulation since at least 2010. Its use is already well known in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, another neurodegenerative condition.
Based on 42 patients with mild Alzheimer’s, the deep-brain stimulation showed encouraging results and increased cerebral glucose metabolism in those age 65 and older, the study results, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, showed. However, the treatment didn’t work as well with those under age 65 and may have made their conditions slightly worse, leading researchers to indicate a need for further study.
Pamela Tabar was editor-in-chief of I Advance Senior Care from 2013-2018. She has worked as a writer and editor for healthcare business media since 1998, including as News Editor of Healthcare Informatics. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Kent State University and a master’s degree in English from the University of York, England.