Although it is in its preliminary stages, results of a new study have shown that deep brain stimulation may slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease in some patients, the Winnipeg Free Press reports.
Neurosurgeon and author Dr Andres Lozano was encouraged by the results, and while it may be require as many as six years to conduct larger studies, he said the findings are still a big step forward.
"Remember, this is the first time this has been done in human beings," Lozano told the news source.
"So to see anything is already great."
According to the news provider, the treatment focused on the hippocampus, which is a part of the brain that plays a key role in memory and is targeted by the disease. Lozano's experiment implanted electrodes that fired continuously in effort to stimulate brain function.
The procedure has the potential to alleviate the heavy burden placed on families caring for relatives with the mental illness. The Texas Department of State Health Services reports that nearly 11 million Americans are providing Alzheimer's care, and the disease affects 50 percent of individuals over the age of 80.