Replay: Live chat on new Alzheimer's disease treatment
For a man diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease six years ago, Robert Linton, is doing exceedingly well. Instead of struggling with becoming more forgetful, he is feeling great. And he believes it's all because of an experimental treatment that has slowed his disease.
Published Wednesday, March 7, 2012 12:53PM EST
Researchers at the Krembil Neuroscience Centre at Toronto Western Hospital have been studying the use of deep brain stimulation as a way to slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease.
They have so far studied the treatment on six patients, placing long electrodes, deep into their brains that continuously send out electrical bursts into the regions of their brains that govern memories -- an area usually damaged by Alzheimer's.
The researchers believe that the electrical currents help to "wake up" areas of the brain that have been "shut off" by Alzheimer's.
So far, they've seen modest success in two Alzheimer's patients, whose test scores in cognition and memory test have not worsened as one would expect. In one patient, Robert Linton, his test scores have actually improved somewhat, and the memory area of his brain has actually grown.
The team would now like to move to larger Phase 2 and Phase 3 trials, to test the technique in 40 to 50 patients.
Two lead researchers who took part in that first phase of study joined us for a live chat to discuss the research.
Dr. Andres Lozano is a neurosurgeon and scientist at the Krembil Neuroscience Centre, and a professor of neurosurgery at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on novel surgical approaches to treat Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and depression.
Dr. David Tang-Wai is a neurologist in the Memory Clinic at Krembil and an assistant professor of neurology at the University of Toronto. His clinical research focuses on Alzheimer's disease.
For more information on the next phase of research in this area, please visit the Krembil Neuroscience Centre website.