Johns Hopkins surgeon implants 1st U.S. brain 'pacemaker' for Alzheimer's disease

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In an effort that is hoped to boost memory and reverse the mental slide of Alzheimer's sufferers, surgeons placed a pacemaker-like device into the brain of a patient in the early stages of the disease. The November operation was the first of its kind in the United States. The federally funded surgery could ultimately instigate a change of course for Alzheimer's treatments, especially after some recent drug trial failures, observers believe.

The implanted device provides deep brain stimulation via low voltage electrical charges and has been used in patients with Parkinson's disease. A second patient is scheduled for the procedure this month, according to reports. The surgeries are being performed by neurosurgeon William S. Anderson, M.D.

Approximately 40 patients are expected to receive the deep brain stimulation implant at Johns Hopkins and other North American facilities.

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