Google Glass-like device could help prevent Alzheimer’s by sending electronic pulses through the skin to stimulate the nervous system and sense of smell
- A wearable that straps around the head could ease or reverse Alzheimer’s
- The device is fitted with six electrodes along the forehead, nose and ears
- It sends electrical pulses through the skin to stimulate the olfactory system
- This area of the brain is responsible for a person’s sense of smell
- Sense of smells does not work properly when Alzheimer’s sets in
A Google Glass-like device is said to ‘zap’ Alzheimer’s disease by stimulating the sense of smell in patients.
A team from the University of Otago unveiled a new wearable that straps around the head and produces small electronic pulses on the skin to arouse the olfactory nervous system.
This area of the brain is known to be dysfunctional in the early stages of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
The device is fitted with six electrodes that are strategically placed around the band where the pulses have direct access to the temporal lobe of the brain, which is involved in organizing sensory input.
A Google Glass-like device is said to ‘zap’ Alzheimer’s disease by stimulating the sense of smell in patients
Statics show that on in 10 people age 65 and older has Alzheimer’s dementia and 13.8 million people in the US age 65 and older are projected to have Alzheimer’s dementia by 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
And the team from the University of Otago has set out to combat these numbers.
Lead author, Associate Professor Yusuf Ozgur Cakmak from Otago’s Department of Anatomy, says promising early results pave the way for developing the world’s first non-invasive, wearable electrical stimulation system to target the olfactory regions.
‘Olfactory nerves have terminals deep in the brain regions which influence memory and navigation, Cakmak said.
A team from the University of Otago has unveiled a new wearable that straps around the head and produces small electronic pulses on the skin to arouse the olfactory nervous system
‘We’re hopeful this method will help stimulate these networks to alleviate symptoms or suppress the progression of Alzheimer’s disease to Dementia. It also has potential to help coma recovery and Parkinson’s disease.’
The devices is a thin band that lays over the ears and around the face.
Embedded in the band are electrodes positioned on the nose bridge, upper and lower forehead and behind the ears.
Cakmak and his team believes the electric pulses could ‘jump-start’ the olfactory system to reduce or reverse the onset of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, along with awakening a patient in a coma.
‘A practical headgear concept is proposed to realize the most ideal configuration,’ reads the study published in the journal Frontiers.
‘Our results pave the way for developing the first non-invasive electrical stimulation wearable system for targeting the olfactory regions which can help to alleviate the symptoms or suppress the progression of these neurological disorders.’
The device is fitted with six electrodes that are strategically placed around the band where the pulses have direct access to the temporal lobe of the brain, which is involved in organizing sensory input
Modulation of the olfactory regions has been attempted successfully with electrical stimulation previously, either directly (intraoperatively through the nasal bones) or indirectly through the vagus nerve.
This research sought to develop a means of delivering electrical stimulation to the olfactory region in a non-invasive fashion and in a way that is simpler, easier, and less cumbersome.
‘Applying this treatment via a headset on a hair-free zone that can be worn in daily routine instead of more invasive treatments makes this method unique ‘ Associate said Cakmak.
The multiple electrode configurations have been tested with the aid of electrical field modelling that is validated with direct human brain recordings during brain surgery.