Memory disorders Electric current improved memory in Alzheimer’s patients – would it sometimes even be suitable for home care?

Patients with dementia were given AC power. “I was wondering if it could even be true,” the researcher describes the results of the treatment trial.

Alzheimer’s the memory of patients with the disease has been improved by the AC-based method of electrical stimulation.

When the researchers applied small amounts of electricity to the brains of patients with memory, their memory was greatly improved in the experiments compared with placebo.

“The results are amazing,” says Docent and Research Director of Experimental Neurology at the University of Eastern Finland Eino Soljewhich is one of the authors of the study.

The study was conducted in Italy at the University of Brescia. Solje worked there as a visiting researcher supported by Finnish foundations.

For the exam participated in 60 memory patients. They were given gamma-frequency alternating current for one hour with a stimulator mounted on the surface of the scalp.

Those who received the experimental treatment performed significantly better on the word memory tests after the treatment than those who received the placebo for an hour. In addition, the nature of many who received electrical irritation improved in any way.

The study was double-blind. Patients are then randomly assigned to receive appropriate treatment and placebo. The provider and recipient of the treatment do not know during the experiment which treatment the patient will receive.

However, the effectiveness of the treatment was so clear in some situations that Solje was already able to easily determine whether the patient was receiving the right or placebo treatment.

“I was wondering if it could even be true,” Solje describes the effect of the treatment.

The study was released a week ago on Tuesday Annals of Neurology magazine.

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Information travels electrically between nerve cells in the brain. However, in memory disorders, the electrical activity of the brain slows down and is no longer systematic.

A recent study sought to bring the electrical activity of the brain closer to normal. The brain is kind of synchronized externally.

Efforts have been made to improve brain function with electricity for decades. Good results have been obtained in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. For example, electrical stimulation is part of the treatment range for major depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

There is less experience with the use of electricity in the treatment of memory disorders.

Attempts have been made to improve memory in Alzheimer’s patients, for example, by direct current stimulation (tDCS). Although a small recovery has been observed, the results of DC therapy have been mixed.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is also being investigated as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

Less attention has been paid to direct alternating current stimulation (tACS). Gamma-frequency alternating current has only been tried once in memory patients when Brescia researchers a small pilot study.

Gamma-frequency brain waves that oscillate at 30 to 80 Hz are disrupted in Alzheimer’s disease.

According to relatives, recovery took a couple of days, after which the patients’ symptoms returned.

In the study all 60 participants received both placebo and gamma-frequency alternating current. There were two weeks between sessions.

Participants were, on average, 72 years old. They had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, but its progression was still relatively early.

Those who received placebo remembered an average of 19 words in word tests. The result for those receiving AC power was 26 words. So the difference was clear.

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When word memory was tested after a short break, placebo-treated people remembered one word, and those who received AC received an average of 2.5 words.

“The percentage difference is large, although not quantitatively,” Solje says.

The duration of the effects was not studied in the study. According to relatives, recovery took a couple of days, after which the patients’ symptoms returned.

Thus, electrical stimulation was unlikely to permanently alter memory.

According to the wildest prospects, a mentally ill brain could be paced in the morning in home care.

Score surprised the professor of neurology and the dean of the Helsinki Faculty of Medicine Anne Remeksen. He was not involved in the investigation.

“The results are surprisingly positive,” says Remes, who is familiar with the study. However, he points out that it is not yet known whether the effect is only momentary.

It is unclear whether AC therapy affects the progression of memory disease or only treats symptoms.

“It has also not been studied what would happen if this were given frequently and whether there would be some disadvantages,” Remes lists open-ended questions.

In any case, Remes believes that the stimulation is worth further research.

Alzheimer’s the root causes of the disease are unknown. It is known that in the disease, beta-amyloid and taupoprotein are deposited in the brain.

It is also known that microglial cells that take care of brain cleansing do not work properly in Alzheimer’s disease.

In many other memory disorders, harmful protein deposits accumulate in the brain.

When mice have been shown to mimic Alzheimer ‘s disease in animal experiments by genetic modification and the brain of rodents has been manipulated with a gamma-rhythm, the beta-amyloid load is reduced by almost half.

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In an animal experiment, microglial cells that cleansed brain cell debris were also obtained.

Indeed, microglial cells are currently a hot target for research and may be key to the development and treatment of memory disorders.

Next Solje and her colleagues study how four days of AC stimulation affect patients ’memory.

In addition to Brescia, studies are also being started in Kuopio, and there are plans to study the effect on memory conditions other than Alzheimer’s.

If good results continue to be obtained from AC stimulation, Solje believes that the treatment will begin to be commercialized.

AC devices are relatively inexpensive and easy to use. According to the wildest prospects, a mentally ill brain could be paced in the morning in home care.

Solje and Remes, however, are falling short of expectations: much more research is still needed. In addition, the effectiveness of treatment may vary from individual to individual.

Interestingly, in a recent study, electrotherapy worked best for those who did not have the quadruple form of apolipoprotein E, the apo-e 4 gene. About one in three Finns carry this gene form. It is the strongest of the risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease.

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Read more: Flows to the brain

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