WUFT News

UF takes part in new Alzheimer’s study

By on December 12th, 2012

The University of Florida, along with four other research institutions in North America, was chosen as a study site for test trials of deep brain stimulation as a possible way to treat Alzheimer’s disease. John Hopkins Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Toronto Western Hospital and the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Phoenix, Ariz., are also study sites.

Kelly Foote,  associate professor of neurosurgery at UF,  said deep brain stimulation is a treatment for brain circuitry disorders that try to change or disrupt the brain circuit function.

“You might imagine your brain as a living super computer, and we can manipulate certain circuits by stimulating them,” he said.

Foote said the implanted device was mainly used for Parkinson’s disease, to cover up “bad signals.” These bad signals come from the control system for movement when it malfunctions, he said. So the device implanted by surgeons sends electrodes to deliver “white noise” to cover up the bad signal that’s messing up the function of the movement network.

“Now, we’re not trying to cover up a bad signal that’s interfering with the normal function of any otherwise intact network,” he said. “Now we’re trying to address a network that’s deteriorating by delivering electrical stimulation that excites that network.”

The surgery involves drilling holes into the skull and implants wires into the fornix on either side of the brain.  The implanted device works similar to a pacemaker in the heart, electrically stimulation the brain, according to an press release from John Hopkins Medicine.

Stacy Merritt, assistant director of clinical trials at the Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration at UF, said the study is experimental, so they’re not sure what the outcome will be. But, she said, it’s designed to estimate the potential benefit in patients who have mild Alzheimer’s.

“By stimulating the fornix people may be able to reverse their memory loss, have the memory loss stop right where it is or improve their memory,” she said.

In the experimental procedures, Foote said, the rats and a few human beings who have had the procedure to reverse Alzheimer’s, their hippocampus became bigger instead of smaller.  The hippocampus is involved in forming, storing, and processing memory, according to Merriam-Webster.

“The exact opposite of what you expect with Alzheimer’s Disease,” Foote said.

Foote, who has performed the surgery more than 800 times for Parkinson’s disease and other circuit disorders, said UF has had a deep brain stimulation program for more than 10 years. He said this is why he thinks UF was chosen with four others to perform the study.

The ADvance study will be tested on those with mild Alzheimer’s who are between the ages of 55 and 80, according to an ADvance brochure.

For more information or to see if you are eligible for the study at UF or another study site, visit the ADvance website.


This entry was posted in Health and Science, University of Florida and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Health and Science

Jeannine Cawthon, a Gainesville native, paints the body of a PET cart on Thursday morning.

Cart Program Gives Rural Disabled New Opportunities

A volunteer workshop outside Jacksonville produces carts for disabled members of rural communities overseas. Designed for those with little to no use of their legs, the carts are propelled by hand-powered handles.


Dr. Ellen Zimmerman, 58, is a gastro neurologist at Shands Hospital at the University of Florida and a professor at the UF College of Medicine.  In her opinion, not the opinion of the university, medical marijuana has quite a few risk factors for patients with Crohn’s Disease, giving rise to her vote of “no” on the failed Amendment 2.

Crohn’s Disease Patient Still Looking For Answers After Amendment 2 Fails

Amendment 2 failed in Florida by a narrow margin, resulting in outrage from the bill’s supporters. A student who suffers from Crohn’s disease gives his perspective on the use of marijuana for medical purposes in the wake of continued debate.


The Alachua County Fire Rescue upgraded  the wireless routers in its ambulances. The ACFR received a grant of $41,200 from both UF Health Shands Hospital and North Florida Regional Medical Center to afford the update.

Alachua Fire Rescue Upgrades Ambulance Routers for Enhanced Patient Care

With help from area hospitals, Alachua County Fire Rescue has upgraded the wireless routers inside their ambulances, which transmit patient information to the hospital prior to their arrival.


CDC Creates Stricter Guidelines For Treatment Of Ebola Patients

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have created stricter guidelines for the treatment of Ebola patients. The new guidelines address training and hands-on experience, preventing skin exposure, and strict observation of putting on and taking off Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).


Hydrocodone has been moved to a stricter schedule II drug from a schedule III, making it more difficult to obtain for prescribed patients.

Hydrocodone Now More Difficult to Obtain for Prescribed Users

The Drug Enforcement Agency is tightening restrictions on oxycodone, making it more difficult for prescribed patients to obtain refills for their prescriptions.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments