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Medicine Technology

Brain Pacemaker Helps Treat Alzheimer's Disease 62

First time accepted submitter Press2ToContinue writes "Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is the use of a pacemaker-like device implanted in the brain to treat the symptoms of diseases like Parkinson's, or other maladies such as depression. For the first time in the US, surgeons at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland have used this technique to attempt to slow memory loss in a patient suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. The fornix, a vital part of the brain that brings data to the hippocampus, is being targeted with this device. Essentially, the fornix is the area of the brain that converts electrical activity into chemical activity. Holes are drilled into the skull, and wires are placed on both sides of the brain. Then, the stimulator device pumps in small and unnoticeable electrical impulses upwards of 130 times per second. Half of the patients will begin the electrical treatment two weeks post-surgery, but the other half won't have their pacemakers turned on until a full year after the surgery to provide comparison data for the study."
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Brain Pacemaker Helps Treat Alzheimer's Disease

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  • No, no, no. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @11:43AM (#42233723)

    The only thing that terrifies me more than getting something like Alzheimer's and being robbed of my memories and experiences and personality is the idea of having any form of brain surgery. Thinking about this story is the kind of shit that keeps me up at night. :)

  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @12:38PM (#42234061) Homepage

    Being introverted is different from being depressed. A very introverted person (someone who doesn't interact with the outside world) is may appear depressed to a lot of people since most humans tend to run towards the middle of the introversion / extroversion axis. Extremely extroverted people tend to be regarded as 'crazy' or some other pejorative. But said introvert can be happy and feel that life is good in that respect.

    A hallmark of depression is increasing introversion - a breaking of ties to the external world, but the normative curve for introversion is pretty broad. On top of that, different societies have different tolerances for all sorts of human personality traits so it gets ... complicated.

  • by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @01:54PM (#42234601)

    Being introverted is different from being depressed.

    No shit Sherlock. Doesn't defeat the point, does it?

    Now tell us, why isn't someone that is happy all the time not considered sick?

    Apparently being locked in an emotional or behavioral state is only evidence of a problem if its not an emotional or behavioral state on the approved list.

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