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Electrical impulses 'may help Alzheimer's patients'

Electrical impulses 'may help Alzheimer's patients'
26th August 2008

Electrical stimulation of the brain may help to improve memory and potentially assist people living with Alzheimer's disease, a study suggests.

Researchers led by Dr Alberto Piori of the University of Milan found that applying electrical stimulation to the side of the brain known as the temporoparietal cortex appeared to significantly improve word recognition and memory accuracy, reports Reuters.

They have suggested that their work provides a starting point for further studies to investigate in greater depth the possible impact of the therapy over a longer period.

Dr Piori told Reuters: "Our preliminary data on Alzheimer's disease patients are promising as we observed beneficial effects after a single session of transcranial direct current stimulation, suggesting that chronic daily application might induce even greater improvement."

The scientists said that the positive impact of the electrical stimulation was comparable to that gained from long-term treatment with cholinesterase inhibitor drugs, which are commonly used to treat dementia.

Last week, the Times reported that a top UK neuroscientist has cited key progress in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease as being her primary research goal.

Baroness Greenfield said she would most like to see a new test which could detect the early onset of the condition, as well as new treatment to prevent its symptoms from developing.

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