Your Health: Treating Alzheimer’s with implants

There is no cure, and so far, only one drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stops the progression in some cases.
There is no cure, and so far, only one drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stops the progression in some cases.
Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 12:54 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease right now. By 2050, that number is projected to be 13 million.

There is no cure, and so far, only one drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stops the progression in some cases. But there are two cutting-edge treatments that researchers are hoping to bring to the bedside.

Deep brain stimulation, or DBS, has been used to control symptoms in Parkinson’s patients, and people with essential tremors.

Now, University of Texas Health San Antonio researchers are testing DBS on Alzheimer’s patients by implanting wires and stimulating the fibers of the fornix, the part of the brain responsible for memory.

“By increasing the flow of information, in that track, we might improve the ability of a person to retain new information,” said Dr. Gabriel de Erausquin, a neurologist and psychiatrist at UT Health San Antonio

Scientists are also studying a new therapy involving the whole exchange of blood. It may decrease amyloid plaques in the brain, which are believed to have a role in the development of Alzheimer’s. The researchers gave repeated blood transfusions to specially bred mice and found their amyloid plaques decreased anywhere from 40 to 80%.

The shared scientific goal? Bringing basic science to human clinical trial.

“If we can prove efficacy for this, that doesn’t have any effective treatments now, it really will be a massive improvement in our toolbox to treat the disease,” said Dr. Erausquin.

A disease that kills more Americans every year than breast and prostate cancer combined.

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