A surgical treatment that stimulates distressed neural networks through electrodes threaded directly into a person's brain has quietly made a difference in the lives of tens of thousands of people with Parkinson disease, essential tremor, and dystonia over the course of the past decade. But while it steadies patients' shaking limbs with surprising effect, its benefits on some patients' minds and personal lives have been more mixed. Some caregivers, in particular, find the newfound mobility of their long-disabled spouses difficult to adjust to. And what about the mind, anyway? Could DBS eventually help other brain diseases such as Alzheimer's?
Initial efforts on that disease and others are getting underway, and depression has already shown some signs of responding to neurostimulation. Meanwhile, the device industry is duking it out, competing for a growing market with technological improvements. Alzforum reporter Amber Dance investigates in a new four-part series. Story links are below:
Deep-Brain Stimulation: Decade of Surgical Relief, Not Just for PD
Deep-Brain Stimulation: Steadies the Body, But What About the Mind?
Deep-Brain Stimulation: An Electrode for All Occasions?
Deep-Brain Stimulation: There's Still Room for Improvement