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New research on implant for Alzheimer’s Disease shows promise

Alzheimer’s: degradation of brain cells

Published in the new edition of the science journal ‘Alzheimer’s and Dementia’ the study, with the unwieldy title of Changes in CSF cholinergic biomarkers in response to cell therapy with NGF in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, involves implanting a ‘nerve growth factor’ (NGF) right into the brain of a patient suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.

Here’s why: Cells called cholinergic nerve cells break down in a person who has Alzheimer’s. These nerve cells need a specific group of proteins in order that they survive and fully function; the proteins they require are the NGF proteins, the ‘nerve growth factor’ proteins. As the cholinergic nerve cells degrade due to a lack of NGF the condition of the Alzheimer’s patience worsens.

Memory impairment slowed down

Traci Pedersen, an associate news editor of the online publication Psych Central, notes that to prevent the degradation of the nerve cells, they implanted NGF into the basal forebrain of the patients.

“In an attempt to thwart the breakdown of these nerve cells, the researchers introduced NGF directly into the brains of Alzheimer’s patients,” she wrote. “To do this, they placed NGF-producing cell capsules in the basal forebrain. These capsules, which can easily be removed, then released NGF to the surrounding cells in order to prevent their degradation.”

Among other things, Dr. Taher Darreh-Shori, who lead the study, said tests in the six patients they studied showed an increase in “cholinergic cell activity and metabolism in the brain” and that the patients, over time, showed a slowing down of impairment to their memory.

They intend to conduct another study, this time implanting NGF into the brains of a greater number of Alzheimer’s patients

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