Scientists implanted “electrodes in the brain's hippocampus, which plays a role in long-term memory. The electrical conductor acts as a pacemaker-like device in the head just beneath the skin. It is connected to a battery pack in the chest.”
Consequently, the mini-mental state exam, a cognitive test, revealed that half of the participants experienced a slow-down in the degenerative effects Alzheimer’s disease has on the brain, while the other half continued to decline in a manner typical of the disease’s progression.
While this new research has produced some promising results, deep brain stimulation is not a novel idea since it has been around for decades. For instance, Dr. Andres Lozano, a neurosurgeon at Toronto's University Health Network, experimented with its effects on Parkinson’s disease without success, unfortunately.
Although not all subjects experienced positive outcomes with this surgery, 64 year old, former city counselor from Brampton, Ontario, Robert Linton, recalled vivid memories of a day he spent fishing.
"I'm with my son," Linton recalled to reporters at Toronto Western Hospital. "I could see that muskie coming right at me as I was sitting in the chair, in Technicolor". "That's the power of touching a spot in your brain. I'm sold on it."Currently, Lozano and his research team are recruiting roughly 50 people willing to install the stimulator. The plan is to activate half of the stimulators immediately and the other half only six months later all the while participants’ knowledge of its activation will remain unknown in order to truly test the benefits of the device.
Although, the true value of this device is not yet known, the actual retail cost if this treatment became available, would be between $15,000 and $20,000 per patient with a battery life of up to five years.
At the moment, I’m unsure whether I approve of this type of treatment. For one, results are insufficient therefore there is no real proof that the surgery will benefit enough people. Secondly, I am reminded of electroconvulsive therapy and I cannot get the image of Nurse Ratched delivering shock therapy out of my head…
Deep brain stimulation tested for Alzheimer's
© www.mentalhealthblog.com No comments