Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Science Eyes Deep Brain Stimulation as Treatment to Alzheimer’s Disease

Science is now looking beyond deep brain stimulation to treat Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In fact, the United States’ first experiment with the so-called “brain pacemakers” for Alzheimer’s disease is currently on progress.

Incidentally, researchers admitted that the study is currently on its early stage. Recent reports revealed that only a few dozen of people with early-stage of AD will be implanted with brain pacemakers in several hospitals. However, researchers are still not certain about the process' effectiveness.

Experts from the Ohio State University gave the participants of the said study at least a little hope, claiming that through constant stimulation of brain circuits involved in the memory and thinking, neural networks are expected to be active for longer period of time, and primarily bypassing some of the disease’s effects.

In addition, since AD doesn’t just corrupts memory but it also prevent sufferers from having the ability to do even the simplest tasks, researchers will put electrodes into hubs where brain pathways, for its every single functions like memory, behavior, concentration and other cognitive functions, meet. Therefore, they could monitor whether the jolts reactivated those silenced circuits, further explained by the Ohio State’s spokesperson.

Meanwhile, the same experiment has been conducted in Canada. In fact, six patients received the implant called deep brain stimulation (DBS). Subsequently, after 12 months of continuous stimulation, brain scan exhibited a sign of increased activity in the areas targeted by the AD. The neurons within the affected area began using more glucose that fuels the brain cells.

Moreover, while most of the sufferers of the disease show clear declines in function each year, one Canadian patient who has had the implants for four years has not deteriorated, said by one of the Canadian researchers, Dr. Andres Lozano.

At present, more than five million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease or Dementia and unfortunately, said number is expected to rapidly increase soon. The worst part is that, so far, there is no treatment known to cure or at least to slow down the progression of early on-set Alzheimer’s disease.

Memory loss and cognitive impairment are probably the worst effect of Alzheimer’s disease to a sufferer. Thus, a Los Angeles SSI lawyer advise adults who notice a decline in their ability to reason and recall should immediately seek a doctor’s evaluation before the condition get worse and become a long-term disability.

Alzheimer’s disease should be taken seriously since it imposes a threat not only to the sufferer but also to the society, particularly if a patient turns to a point of totally losing memory. In fact, due to the severity of the disease, the Social Security Administration (SSA) included the same in its list of Compassionate Allowances Conditions, which is purposely designed to speed up a disability benefits claim.