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Cell scaffold blood-brain-barrier. (Credit: A. Marino/ Smart Bio-Interfaces, IIT Pontedera)

Researchers conducted a study aimed at slowing the decline of problem solving and decision-making skills in patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.

Thin electrical wires were surgically implanted into the frontal lobes of the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease to determine whether using a brain pacemaker could improve cognitive, behavioral, and functional abilities in patients with this form of dementia.

The deep brain stimulation (DBS) implant is similar to a cardiac pacemaker device, except that the pacemaker wires are implanted in specific regions of the brain rather than the heart. This is the first use of DBS in Alzheimer’s disease in a behavioral regulation brain region target. All three patients in the study showed improvements with DBS.

The pilot study found that DBS targeting frontal brain regions can reduce the overall performance decline typically seen in people with mild or early stage Alzheimer’s. The researchers say the study findings suggest that modulation of frontal lobe networks by DBS holds promise for improving connectivity, cognitive, and functional performance.

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