Transcript for Pacemaker for the Brain
Now to a new and promising procedure that could one day be used to fight alzheimer's. A pacemaker for the brain. Here is abc's john schriffen. Reporter: A cure for alzheimer's disease has long alluded doctors. Now a surgical approach with a pacemaker used to stimulate the brain is offering great hope. Two of the first such surgeries in the u.S. Were performed at johns hopkins. We hope we can improve the patient's function for a longer period of time much longer than they could other wise have. Reporter: Other attempts have failed to slow the debilitating disease. It affects 5.4 million americans and is expected to jump to 16 million by 2050. In canada, it's been performed six times on patients like robert. If I can't remember something if I just pause for one, two, three seconds, it pops in. Reporter:'S HERE'S HOW IT Works. The pacemaker is surgically implanted in the chest. Wires are run under the skin to the skull and deep into the brain to deliver an electrical stimulation. At the rate of 100 electrical impulses a second. Our understanding how it works fitting in with how the surgery will work. Reporter: It's always used to fight parkinson's disease. The difference in the brain scan. Though the lights are out here, there is someone home and we are able to turn the brain back on. Reporter: While the surgery to battle alzheimer's is still experimental, he is still driving his car, going to the gym and living a normal life. With the diagnosis, you don't know what the future is going to be. And now, I think maybe we have more on of a future. It's important to know that the treatment is not approved by the fda for the treatment of alzheimer's but 40 people are expected to receive the implant over the next year. John, thank you. Coming up, take a look at this suspect tonight getting out
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