Are Neural Prosthetics the Future of Alzheimer’s Treatment?

By Keith Davis, 9:00 am on

Designed to stimulate the hippocampus, a new brain prosthetic may be capable of minimizing Alzheimer’s symptoms. Named after its innovator, Thomas Berger of the University of Southern California, the Berger Chip mimics the neuron functions in the portion of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s. While the Berger Chip cannot upload memories, it can help the body process and create new ones, and it may also assist in restoring lost memories. This can make the device suitable for a number of age-related health conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional home care. In Green Valley, families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place. Here’s what you need to know about neural prosthetics and how they may be able to treat Alzheimer’s.

The Future of Alzheimer’s Treatment

There are multiple advances being made in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, many of which are expected to have a significant impact on seniors within the next several years. For instance, Australian researchers are working on ultrasound technologies that break down the brain plaque responsible for memory loss. Testing is also underway in the United States on a drug that may slow memory loss by up to 30 percent. Taurine, a popular additive in energy drinks, is currently being tested in Korea to learn more about its effects on memory loss. Although none of these developments represent a potential cure for Alzheimer’s, they’re all contributing to the expansion of available treatment options. With time, it is hoped that Alzheimer’s will eventually be reduced to little more than a chronic and manageable illness.

Why Brain Prosthetics Are So Promising

Neural prosthetics for Alzheimer’s have performed spectacularly in early testing on rats and monkeys. Scientists are also impressed with the success seen in similar technologies such as the cochlear implant and in wireless devices used to manipulate and control prosthetic limbs. There are even neurological devices being used to successfully control the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Manufactured by Medtronic of Minneapolis, these devices for Parkinson’s treatment have inspired the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to devise a brain prosthetic for Alzheimer’s. Organized under President Obama’s BRAIN initiative, the DARPA project is aimed at creating a wireless portable device that will be used in conjunction with implantable probes to record and stimulate brain activity.

The Journey to Creating a Functional Device

Currently, the most promising prosthetic for the treatment of Alzheimer’s is the Berger Chip. Nearly 30 years in the making, this silicon chip can communicate directly with living brain tissue by using the same electronic language the brain employs. This tech has been paired with a special algorithm created by Dong Song from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. When demonstrating the effects of this algorithm and the Berger Chip together, Dr. Berger has shown that from a functional standpoint, it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between living brain tissue and the silicon implant. However, the Berger Chip is only meant to alleviate or control the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. It is not intended to function as a cure or to slow the progression of the disease.

Recovering from a stroke, managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and a variety of other health-related situations can make it difficult for a senior to continue living at home without someone there to help. Green Valley, AZ, live-in care professionals are trained to help seniors who need 24/7 assistance. With the help of a live-in caregiver, your elderly loved one can maintain a higher quality of life while aging in place.

Every senior living with Alzheimer’s deserves high-quality Alzheimer’s care. Green Valley, AZ, families can rely on the caregivers at Home Care Assistance to keep their loved ones safe while managing the symptoms of the disease. Using our Cognitive Therapeutics Method, our caregivers help seniors regain a sense of pride and accomplishment while slowing the rate of cognitive decline. To learn more about this approach to senior care or to hire a dedicated, professional, and compassionate caregiver for your aging loved one, call us at 520-625-2050.

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