According to a 2016 study, someone develops Alzheimer’s disease every 66 seconds. Alzheimer’s causes progressive memory loss as well as slow degradation of other cognitive functions that are needed for daily activities and chores. Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, and typically, treatment for it focusses on managing symptoms in order to help patients carry out activities for as long as possible without losing independence.
A recent clinical trial at the Ohio State University tried a new method to help Alzheimer’s patients live independently a lot longer. The trial, led by Dr. Douglas Scharre, focusses on cognitive functioning than memory, and involves implanting very thin electrical wires in a patient’s frontal lobe – the part of the brain associated with working memory and functioning like solving problems, organizing, planning, and utilizing good judgement – basically, an important part that helps with decision making. The wires are connected to a tiny device implanted in the patient’s chest. This device sends electric signals to stimulate the relevant brain networks.
The team recruited three patients who volunteered to get these wires implanted in their brains and participate in the trial. All three participants, including an 85 year old woman, saw significant improvements in daily cognitive functioning, like cooking her own meals and other daily activities. After receiving deep brain simulation for two years, this woman was able to perform several daily activities on her own like organizing outings, bringing the right amount of money when going out, choosing clothes to wear depending on weather, etc. besides preparing her own meal. In short, she was able to regain a lot more independence and performed daily chores without much hindrance.
Watch the video below to learn more about this study and the independence one of the patients regained, and read more about this trial at the source link.