New type of deep brain stimulation could help improve memory loss in people with Alzheimer’s

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By Aoife Cosgrave | Friday 20 October 2023

Nature Neuroscience: Non-invasive temporal interference electrical stimulation of the human hippocampus.

The study published in Nature Neuroscience, uses a technique known as temporal interference (TI) which can reach a region of the brain called the hippocampus. This region plays an important role in memory and learning.

The researchers asked the healthy volunteers to memorise names and faces while wearing the electrodes on their scalp and found that repeated stimulation improved memory accuracy.

Because of the success in this small trial, the researchers will now start testing the technique in people with early Alzheimer’s disease to see if it can improve symptoms of memory loss.

 

Dr Leah Mursaleen, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK says:

“Although there are some promising new drugs in the pipeline for people with early Alzheimer’s disease, they have not yet been approved by regulators and, even if they are, they may not be suitable for everyone. With nearly 1 million people living with the dementia in the UK today, it’s crucial that we also look at other ways that can help people manage their symptoms.

“Although deep brain stimulation is available as a treatment option for some brain conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, current techniques require complicated brain surgery. So, it’s fantastic to see UK-based researchers exploring promising new ways to reach the brain that don’t require invasive procedures.

“It is important to note that this study was done in a small group of healthy volunteers. Therefore, the results of the next clinical trial, which will assess this exciting technique in people with early Alzheimer’s disease, will give us more insight to see if this technique can help improve their memory.”

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Aoife Cosgrave