Deep-Brain Stimulation Has Potential to Help Slow Alzheimer Decline

February 9, 2018 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​Deep-brain stimulation targeting frontal brain regions may help slow the decline of problem-solving and decision-making skills in people with Alzheimer disease, according to a study published January 30, 2018 in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. Many Alzheimer disease treatments focus primarily on improving memory, but this study took a different approach, instead aiming to improve the cognitive abilities of its three participants. They each received an implant—similar to a cardiac pacemaker­—and the implant's thin electrical wires were surgically placed into the frontal lobes of the brain. This area of the brain is responsible for good judgment, problem solving, and organization, and the retention of these skills is necessary to complete daily tasks such as choosing what to wear or what to eat, making the bed, and more complex behaviors such as holding meaningful discussions with friends and family, according to a coauthor of the study. Treatment lasted at least 18 months.

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