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New Research Finds That Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Could Be A Viable Treatment Option For Alzheimer’s Patients

Ocskay Mark - stock.adobe.com - illustrative purposes only, not the actual people

Approximately 6.5 million Americans sixty-five years old and over are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in 2022– making it one of the most common causes of dementia.

Yet, despite the disease’s prevalence, AD is still not easy to prevent or treat.

In Germany, though, one interesting therapy known as deep brain stimulation (DBS) has already been approved for treating a range of neurological movement disorders– including dystonia and Parkinson’s disease, as well as neuropsychiatric diseases like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

And recently, a research team from the Charité – Universitatmedizin in Berlin, one of the largest university hospitals in Europe, has found that stimulating a specific neural network via DBS may reduce symptoms among Alzheimer’s patients.

Through the DBS technique, doctors implant very thin electrodes into a patient’s brain– which allows for mild electrical pulses to be constantly delivered to distinct brain regions.

The implants do remain permanently in the brain and are connected via wires to another device– similar to a pacemaker– that is implanted under the skin in the chest region.

This secondary device ultimately regulates and adjusts the frequency and strength of electrical brain stimulation.

Now, even though DBS has been used as an established Parkinson’s disease treatment for two decades at this point– with costs covered by health insurance providers– the therapy is still not entirely well-known, according to Professor Andreas Horn, head of a network-based brain stimulation lab at the Department of Neurology and Experimental Neurology.

So, interestingly, the launching point for this Charité study was actually an unexpected observation made during a different Canadian study.

Ocskay Mark – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purposes only, not the actual people

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