Deep Brain Stimulation treats Parkinson’s, could soon do the same for Alzheimer’s

Everything you need to know about Neuralink
kjpargeter / 123RF Stock Photo
Deep Brain Stimulation, in which electrode-tipped wires are inserted into the brains of participants, is being used to treat patients with Parkinson’s — and could soon do the same for other neurological disorders.

“We offer DBS surgery to Parkinson’s patients who continue to have difficulty with motor symptoms despite the best available medications,” Dr. Andres Lozano, a pioneering neurosurgeon at the University of Toronto and former TED speaker, told Digital Trends. “Operations take about four hours to do and involve inserting electrodes in the brain and a pacemaker in the chest to deliver electrical stimulation to very small areas of the brain.”

Stimulating the neurons in affected parts of the brain has shown impressive results in treating Parkinson’s Disease. “DBS for [Parkinson’s Disease] is approved [and] well established with over 150,000 patients with Parkinson’s worldwide having received DBS so far,” Dr. Lozano continued.

As Benjamin Stecher, a Parkinson’s sufferer who regularly writes about the disease, observes about the treatment in an article for Futurism: “It’s incredible to see the technique in practice … At the flick of a switch, patients go from shaking uncontrollably and barely able to move, to suddenly being still, relaxed, and in almost full control of their body.”

Dr. Lozano told us that his work has now expanded to look at how Deep Brain Stimulation can help people suffering from other neurological disorders.

“My main areas of work now are DBS for depression and Alzheimer’s,” he said. “[It’s the] same technology but the electrodes are placed in totally different brain targets. In [Parkinson’s Disease] we stimulate motor circuits in the brain, in [Alzheimer’s] a memory circuit, [and] in depression a mood circuit.”

These latter two treatments are currently being evaluated in clinical trials.

While treatment isn’t the same thing as a cure, it’s pretty astonishing to think that one day managing previously debilitating diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s really could be not only possible, but standard operating procedure. And all thanks to pioneers like Dr. Andres Lozano.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

Can't get enough lightsaber action? Here's how to get your Star Wars fix online

Few of us want to deal with DVDs or Blu-ray discs anymore. Unfortunately, the Star Wars movies are few and far between when it comes to streaming. If you want to watch Star Wars online, check out our guide on where to find the films online.
Movies & TV

Pedro Pascal officially cast as 'The Mandalorian' as Disney show fills out cast

The Mandalorian, Jon Favreau's live-action Star Wars series planned for Disney's streaming video service, will be one of the most expensive television shows ever made. Here's everything we know about it so far.

Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ becomes the most-streamed 20th-century song

Queen's iconic Bohemian Rhapsody has become the most-streamed 20th-century song. Knocking Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit off the top spot, the British band's 1975 classic has now been streamed 1.6 billion times globally.

Here’s how to install Windows on a Chromebook

If you want to push the functionality of your new Chromebook to another level, and Linux isn't really your deal, you can try installing Windows on a Chromebook. Here's how to do so, just in case you're looking to nab some Windows-only…

Built to take a beating and still perform, these are the best hiking watches

A proper hiking watch should track exercise metrics and act as a navigational co-pilot during any kind of hike. Ideally, it'll even have a built-in GPS system and sensors. Here are five of the best hiking watches.
Emerging Tech

Transplanted pig hearts show promise in baboon trials. Are humans next?

Researchers in Germany have successfully transplanted modified pig hearts into baboons. The results take us one step closer to ending organ transplant waiting lists for good. Here's why.

Crush your next workout with the best Fitbit for every activity

Fitbits are amazingly helpful tools for setting fitness goals and tracking progress. However, different activities require different metrics. We've gathered a list of the best Fitbits for running, swimming, biking, and other activities.

These fitness deals come just in time to work off those holiday calories

Finding the motivation to work out is one thing. Finding space at home to get in a few sets and reps can be an entire challenge in itself. Luckily for you, Walmart and Amazon both have space saving fitness machines and tools on sale right…

Google Fit app finally gets a widget, among other new features

Google Fit hasn't received any new features since its redesign. This week, the company is rolling some new tools; users will be able to add a widget to their Android home screen, adjust the intensity of their workouts, and more.

Amazon is slashing its prices on an array of top blenders

Quality blenders from Vitamix to Ninja and more are on sale at Amazon — just in time to gift them for Christmas. They're great for preparing tasty treats, and as a kitchen staple, they make a great gift for the budding chef in your life.

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…

REI clearance sale extends discounts on Garmin, Fitbit, and GoPro devices

Beyond the things you typically expect to find at REI — like tents, skis, and jackets — there are tons of great deals on quality tech foryour outdoor adventures. From smartwatches to action cameras, here are the best tech deals.
Smart Home

Alexa’s latest skill helps patients manage high blood pressure

People who need some help managing their high blood pressure are getting some help via a new Alexa skill developed in partnership with Omron Healthcare that will work directly with the manufacturer's monitors.