Last October (2012), surgeons at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center performed the first brain pacemaker implant for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Kathy Sanford became the first Alzheimer’s patient in the United States to have the pacemaker implanted in her brain. She is one of 10 patients enrolled in the study currently in progress at The OSU Wexner Medical Center. The FDA has approved the study. The goal of the study is to see if using a brain pacemaker implant will improve cognitive and behavioral function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
According to Dementia Today, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia in older people today. Statistics report that 5.4 million people in the United States today are living with Alzheimer’s, and by the year 2050, 16 million people will have the disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease of both cognitive and behavioral memory loss. It is one of the top ten diseases in our country that has no prevention, cure or means of halting its progression.
Dr. Douglas Scharree and Dr. Ali Rezai, both from The OSU Wexner Medical Center, are conducting the implant study. They state they are being “cautiously optimistic” about the study, but seem encouraged by preliminary results. The study is scheduled to be completed in 2015.