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Brain stimulation 'may help Alzheimer's patients'

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A brain stimulation technique could help to boost language skills of those with moderate Alzheimer’s, according to new research.

Italian researchers found those who were treated with repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over a month scored more highly on sentence comprehension tests.

However other cognitive functions were unchanged, the study found.

The research saw 10 patients treated with the technique - half received a 25 minute session five days a week over four weeks, while the others were treated for two weeks following a fortnight of a dummy treatment. 

Rebecca Wood, Chief Executive of the UK’s leading dementia research charity, the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, said: “There is very little certainty around this kind of magnetic stimulation as a treatment approach to Alzheimer’s, but the interesting results of this small study may warrant additional investigation in larger populations.

“Further comprehensive studies could explore whether the approach can be adjusted to relieve other symptoms of Alzheimer’s, in particular the memory problems which bring so much distress to people living with the disease.

“Research is the only answer to dementia, which poses the greatest medical challenge of the 21st century. We must invest in research now to avoid massive increases in the prevalence of this devastating condition.”

The results were published in The Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.

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