Alzheimer's disease symptoms might be cognitive or non-cognitive in nature.
A type of dementia for which there is presently no cure, Alzheimer’s disease affects an estimated 32 million people worldwide.
Alzheimer’s patients undergo cognitive function degradation, which impairs their memory and concentration. They also struggle with non-cognitive problems like worry and sadness.
Deep brain stimulation can be used to create new neurons in the brain and excite them, according to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers. In a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, this procedure helped restore both cognitive and non-cognitive capabilities.
The investigation was just released in the journal Cell Stem Cell.
Deep brain stimulation: what is it?
During a surgical procedure called deep brain stimulation, electrodes are inserted into particular parts of the brain. The electrodes are wired to a small, under-the-skin pacemaker-like device that is implanted in the chest region.
Electrical pulses generated by the electrodes block aberrant signals that might result in neurological problems. Moreover, there has recently been a push to create less invasive techniques for deep brain stimulation.
The idea to investigate the impact of deep brain stimulation on Alzheimer’s disease originated from prior studies, according to Dr. Juan Song, associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and senior author of this study.
In the initial phase of the investigation, optogenetics was employed to stimulate the SuM and improve AHN in Alzheimer’s mouse models. In the brains of the Alzheimer‘s-affected mice, this led to the growth of new neurons.
The new neurons were then activated by Dr. Song and her team using a non-invasive deep brain stimulation technique known as chemogenetics. Significantly, activation of these SuM-modified ABNs corrected the emotional and cognitive deficits seen in AD mouse models.
According to Dr. Song, these findings may contribute in the development of new therapeutic approaches, maybe using deep brain stimulation of SuM followed by medication to increase the activity of SuM-enhanced ABNs.
To determine the genes and pathways mediated by the activation of SuM-enhanced ABNs, Dr. Song stated they intended to use unbiased methods, such as multi-omics.