Washington, DC - January 20, 2013
Scientists are attempting something dramatically different in the quest to stave off the creeping memory loss of Alzheimer's disease. They're using "brain pacemakers."
Brain surgery for Alzheimer's may sound radical, but the first U.S. experiments with these implants are getting under way.
It's not easy.
Surgeons must drill holes into a patient's skull. Then they implant tiny wires that shoot out mild jolts of electricity. By constantly zapping certain brain circuits, scientists hope to bypass some of Alzheimer's damage and keep neural networks active for longer.
There's a big caution.
This research is in its infancy. Only a few dozen people with early-stage Alzheimer's symptoms will get the implants in a handful of hospitals. They'll be tracked closely for a few years to see how they fare.