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Currents of memory: recent progress, translational challenges, and ethical considerations in fornix deep brain stimulation trials for Alzheimer's disease.

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Currents of memory: recent progress, translational challenges, and ethical considerations in fornix deep brain stimulation trials for Alzheimer’s disease.

Neurobiol Aging. 2017 Aug;56:202-210

Authors: Viaña JNM, Vickers JC, Cook MJ, Gilbert F

Abstract
The serendipitous discovery of triggered autobiographical memories and eventual memory improvement in an obese patient who received fornix deep brain stimulation in 2008 paved the way for several phase I and phase II clinical trials focused on the safety and efficacy of this potential intervention for people with Alzheimer’s disease. In this article, we summarize clinical trials and case reports on fornix deep brain stimulation for Alzheimer’s disease and review experiments on animal models evaluating the physiological or behavioral effects of this intervention. Based on information from these reports and studies, we identify potential translational challenges of this approach and determine practical and ethical considerations for clinical trials, focusing on issues regarding selection criteria, trial design, and outcome evaluation. Based on initial results suggesting greater benefit for those with milder disease stage, we find it essential that participant expectations are carefully managed to avoid treatment disenchantment and/or frustration from participants and caregivers. Finally, we urge for collaboration between centers to establish proper clinical standards and to promote better trial results comparison.

PMID: 28385550 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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