Can a Pacemaker in the Brain Slow the Progression of Alzheimer’s?

Almost 180,000 people in Michigan live with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. By 2025, The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that number will climb to 190,000 people.

That is why families and caregivers in Michigan and across the country are closely following the promising new trials at The Johns Hopkins University and Wexner Medical Center at The Ohio State University. Over the past seven months, researchers at both medical universities have been conducting pacemaker trials on patients living with Alzheimer’s disease. Early results look encouraging.

The studies started in December of 2012 when surgeons at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine implanted pacemakers in the brain of two people with Alzheimer’s Disease. They expect forty more patients at Johns Hopkins and four other medical centers will undergo the same procedure by the end of the year.

The Johns Hopkins trial is focused on examining the effects deep electric simulation of the brain can have on the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. The study is based on an earlier and smaller trial in Canada. Patients there showed increased glucose metabolism after a similar study. Glucose metabolism is considered an indicator of neuronal activity. It decreases with the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers at The Ohio State University are approaching their testing a little differently. While The Johns Hopkins trial targets the part of the brain responsible for memory, the trial at The Ohio State targets the area of the brain that controls behavior and cognition. Both groups are hoping to see how pacemakers in the brain can treat this disease.

Stay Updated on the Pacemaker Trials

We encourage families that have a loved one living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease to sign up to follow our blog. We’ll be sure to share the latest findings from both trials,” explains Eileen Drexler, the Alzheimer’s and dementia expert for Heritage Senior Communities in Michigan.

You can learn more about The Johns Hopkins trial from this video. . You can also watch this interview from The Wexner Medical Center to see the story of one of their patient’s progress firsthand.

Do you or a loved one live with Alzheimer’s disease?

Would you consider participating in an Alzheimer’s trial?