Login

US begins testing brain implants with hopes of slowing Alzheimer’s

johns hopkins hospital

Surgeons at the Johns Hopkins Hospital have successfully implanted a deep brain stimulation device with hopes to slow the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, one of the first operations of its kind for the United States. Similar to a pacemaker, the stimulation device includes a set of electrodes that sends impulses with the help of a battery that is placed under the skin — the obvious difference is that the electrodes are used to stimulate growth of the hippocampus, the portion of the brain responsible for converting short-term memory to long-term, which also happens to be the first area to shrink in cases of Alzheimer's. Over the course of the next year, about 40 additional patients in North America with mild forms of the disease will undergo the same treatment as part of the study.

Deep brain stimulation implants have previously been used in Europe and Canada to treat Parkinson's disease, depression, Tourette's Syndrome, and other forms of brain impairment. In a 2010 study that took place in Toronto, the size of the hippocampus in one of the six patients increased by eight percent after 12 months of stimulation — a major breakthrough considering no growth had ever been recorded in cases of Alzheimer's. While researchers are still far from ridding the world of the condition, delaying its effects would greatly increase the quality of life for those afflicted with the disease.

The Verge
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new Verge username and password

As part of the new Verge launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to Verge going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new Verge username and password

As part of the new Verge launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to Verge going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.
Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.