4.18.2005

Magnetic Waves a Possible Treatment for Alzheimer's?
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We recently read Tuxedo Park by Jennet Conant, a biography of the life of Wall Street financier Alfred Loomis. Loomis, after a successful run as a deal originator and promoter who was instrumental in the securitization and consolidation of the emerging electric power industry - Mohawk, Southern California Edison (which in the latter 20's was a growth sector) suddenly retired from the Street and dedicated the rest of his life to scientific pursuits.

Creating a laboratory in his Tuxdedo Park hideaway, Loomis lured the greatest minds of the decades after WWI to his enclave including Einstein, Fermi, Kistiakowski, South Dakota born atom smasher and Berkeley Nobel Laureate Ernest O. Lawrence, his colleagues at Berkeley Alvarez and Teller, and all the others who were involved in creating the atomic age.

Loomis made an interesting and detailed study of the brain and magnetism, subjecting virtually everyone who visited the idyllic "palace of science" to sessions where their brain activity was charted and analyzed, ostensibly, to understand the brain and experiment with magnetism as a potential force in healthcare, as a precursor to atomic bombardment (the humanitarian focus of Lawrence's cyclotron fund raising effort was acceleration of the atom for the purpose of bombarding tumors) while the immediate practical application was the ability to ignite a chain reaction in a core of uranium - and to get there faster than Hitler's scientists.

Well, now magnetism is back as a potential solution for Alzheimer's Disease....Exposing an Alzheimer's patient's head to magnetic waves helps increase brain functioning, scientists have discovered.

The effect lasted for only four minutes, but researchers at the Montreal Jewish General Hospital say the discovery heralds the future to treatment of the degenerative disorder, reports Xinhua.

"We are excited because this is proof of concept showing that perhaps this approach may be beneficial," said Howard Chertkow, one of the members of the research team, adding that the benefits will increase in the near future.


The scientists, who applied Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to the heads of Alzheimer's patients, discovered that the respondents were able to recall 30 percent more words than other patients.

"One could envisage that in the future some sort of stimulation would be given daily or several times a day if we can make the effects last a few hours," Chertkow said.

Researchers also found that the TMS electrical signals helped kick start brain tissue around areas damaged due to Alzheimer's.

Currently there was no ways known to slow down the progression of the degenerative disease that causes severe loss memory in patients.



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