March 13, 2012 — Canadian Television recently released a report about a study conducted by doctors from the Krembil Neuroscience Centre at Toronto Western Hospital using deep brain stimulation (DBS) to stop, and possibly reverse, Alzheimer’s Disease. The initial test group of six Alzheimer’s patients had two electrodes placed in the part of the brain that is most impacted by Alzheimer’s; the region that controls memory and cognitive function. A battery pack is implanted in the chest and it sends out 130 electrical impulses per second to the affected region.

Dr. Andres Lozano, the architect of the DBS study, describes the brain like the electrical grid to a city. For Alzheimer’s patients, the portion of the brain that controls memory is dark, as though this area has a power outage, while the rest of the ‘city’ (brain) is functioning and lit up. The DBS study was designed to see if physicians would get the power turned back on in the affected part of the brain.

This initial study resulted in improvement for one patient, stabilization for two patients, and no change for three patients. Doctors suspect that this treatment is most effective for Alzheimer’s patients that have been recently diagnosed with the disease. These patients have enough healthy brain tissue to respond positively to the electronic stimulation.

Robert Linton, the patient who saw improvement says, “I think it is the answer to Alzheimers…100 percent!”

Mr. Linton has early-stage Alzheimer’s and, in his case, the memory area of the brain that usually shrinks as the disease progresses is actually growing.

Doctors are awaiting approval to conduct a Stage 2 level study with 40-50 Alzheimer’s patients. They anticipate getting approval by May.

For more information about the story, and an online discussion with the doctors involved in the research, please click on the links below.

Link to news story about patient involved in electronic brain stimulation to treat Alzheimer’s Disease:
http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20120306/alzheimers-deep-brain-stimulation-120306/#.T1eb1f_RC9w.email

Link to discussion with doctors involved in brain electrode research for Alzheimer’s: http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Health/20120307/alzheimers-brain-stimulation-chat-120307/