Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a medical procedure that has been known to be effective for neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, but new research may indicate that DBS may also be effective in treating Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
DBS is a procedure done surgically to implant electrodes in specific areas of the brain. The electrodes transmit electric impulses to various part of the brain. These electrical impulses regulate abnormal brain impulses and can positively affect specific brain cells and neurochemicals.
DBS is controlled by a device implanted under the skin-that is similar to a cardiac pacemaker used to control irregular heart rhythms.
There are several adverse effects that can commonly occur with DBS including: hallucinations, depression, compulsive tendencies and more, but these side effects are usually temporary.
A recent study, at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, observed the effects of DBS on dementia, and found that this procedure may help improve the symptoms of dementia related disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The study found that rats showed an improvement in memory tasks after stimulation of a specific part of the brain. Another promising result of the study was that researchers observed new brain cells being formed in the rats with electrode stimulation-when compared to the control group of rats.
According to Dr. Lim Lee Wei, associate professor at Sunway University Mayalsia, “Memory loss in older people is not only a serious and widespread problem, but signifies a key symptom of dementia. At least one in 10 people aged 60 and above in Singapore suffer from dementia and this breakthrough could pave the way towards improved treatments for patients.”
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