Deep-brain stimulation— the practice of implanting a pacemaker-like shocker deep in the recesses of your dome—have been used for treating conditions like Parkinson’s or even depression, but now they’ve got a new mountain to climb: Alzheimer’s.
For the very first times, surgeons at Johns Hopkins have used a brain-implanted pacemaker device to try to slow memory loss in a patient suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s. So far there’s only one patient with a memory-saving zapper, but a second is on the way along with about 40 others over the course of the next year, with the help of several other research institutes. After implantation, the pacemakers zap a part of the brain called the fornix with up to 130 blasts of electricity per second, all without disturbing the brain’s owner.
The researchers hope that this will be an effective solution at treating Alzheimer’s in and of itself, but if nothing else it should at least provide valuable information that could further other treatments as well. Johns Hopkins is currently accepting volunteers for the program, and hopefully those implants will give them—and all who follow—a fighting chance at hanging on to those precious memories. [ExtremeTech]
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