. Memory enhancement and deep-brain stimulation of the entorhinal area. N Engl J Med. 2012 Feb 9;366(6):502-10. PubMed.

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  1. The work from the group at UCLA is exciting and could have important implications for patients with memory disturbances. Just as deep-brain stimulation has been used to modify the activity of brain areas involved in movement in over 80,000 patients with Parkinson's disease, here we now have an example of using stimulation to modify the performance of brain areas involved in memory. This work shows that the circuits in the brain that are responsible for memory are reachable, and that their activity can be adjusted by electrical stimulation. Although the number of patients was small and they applied it to patients being treated for epilepsy rather than memory disturbances, it lends support to the concept that stimulating specific brain areas to improve memory could potentially be useful therapeutically.

    Our own group has applied deep-brain stimulation in a small number of patients with Alzheimer's disease at another location along the same memory circuit, the fornix (Laxton et al., 2010). We are building upon our previous work and that of the group at UCLA, and hope to launch a Phase 2 trial of DBS for mild Alzheimer's disease in the near future.

    References:

    . A phase I trial of deep brain stimulation of memory circuits in Alzheimer's disease. Ann Neurol. 2010 Oct;68(4):521-34. PubMed.

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