Ohio State Implants First Brain Pacemaker To Treat Alzheimer's [View all]
Source: Health News Digest
During a five-hour surgery last October at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Kathy Sanford became the first Alzheimer's patient in the United States to have a pacemaker implanted in her brain.
She is the first of up to 10 patients who will be enrolled in an FDA-approved study at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center to determine if using a brain pacemaker can improve cognitive and behavioral functioning in patients with Alzheimer's disease.
The study employs the use of deep brain stimulation (DBS), the same technology used to successfully treat about 100,000 patients worldwide with movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease. In the study, researchers hope to determine whether DBS surgery can improve function governed by the frontal lobe and neural networks involved in cognition and behavior by stimulating certain areas of the brain with a pacemaker.
"Basically, the pacemakers send tiny signals into the brain that regulate the abnormal activity of the brain and normalize it more," says Rezai. "Right now, from what we're seeing in our first patient, I think the results are encouraging, but this is research. We need to do more research and understand what's going on."