Transcranial magnetic stimulation, also known as TMS, is a remarkably simple, relatively inexpensive, and side effects-free non-invasive method of treating chronic pain. The neuroAD Therapy System by Neuronix Corporation presents a novel method for using transcranial magnetic stimulation for treating mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.
What Is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?
Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a form of magnetic therapy that involves the application of a pulsating magnetic field across the scalp. The kind of magnets used in transcranial magnetic stimulation are nothing like, say, refrigerator magnets, which exert a constant magnetic force. Pulsating magentic Alzheimer's disease treatment helps ions flow both in and out of the cells in the brain, stimulating the flow of oxygen and nutrients into the cell, and pulling carbon dioxide and waste products out.
A Safe Method of Treatment for Alzheimer's Disease
Transcranial magnetic stimulation sometimes produces dramatic, positive results in neurological disease. Sometimes putting on a magnetized headband stops chronic pain dead in its tracks. Sometimes pulsating magnetic therapy stops the tremors of Parkinson's disease, without the need for surgery to implant the device. Magnet therapy is also used for treating insomnia and depression.
The Neuronix system takes magnetic therapy a step further for treating dementia related to Alzheimer's. The treatment program consists of five daily one-hour sessions every week for six weeks in a clinic or outpatient setting. Alzheimer's patients do not have to be in a rest home or hospital to qualify for the treatment. The patient sits in a chair equipped with magnets that deliver focused magnetic fields to specific parts of the brain, in front of a computer screen that presents them with focused "brain exercises" to use that part of the brain. The magnets provide long-term stimulation to that part of the brain, which makes a connection to the cognitive skill presented on the screen.
Neuronix is designed to counteract the signs of dementia such as memory loss, confusion, mood swings, aggression, loss of language, depression, and withdrawal from social connections, and loss of control of bodily functions. Alzheimer's without treatment is invariably a slow process of deterioration that leads to disability in three to five years, requiring the patient to be institutionalized, and death in seven to ten years.
How Well Does NeuroniAD Work?
NeuronixAD is considered a symptomatic treatment. It does not cure Alzheimer's, but it may stop the progression of symptoms. Patients feel better, and their doctors have the impression they are better. However, NeuronixAD is a treatment for mild Alzheimer's.
The research data show that the benefits of the treatment are due to a combination of magnetic therapy and cognitive training exercises. The benefits of six weeks of daily sessions usually last for six to twelve months, and another round of the treatment may keep the patient for another six to twelve months. The treatment is not entirely free of side effects, but none of the Alzheimer's patients in the clinical trial suffered seizures, and only a minority had headache, neck pain, scalp pain, or fatigue.
NeuronixAD is already approved in the European Union. It is commercially available in Israel, Korea, and Hong Kong. In the US, it is still regarded as an "investigational device."
What Can You Do to Slow Down Alzheimer's?
NeuronixAD is a little like going to the chiropractor every few weeks for back pain. You feel better, but the treatments don't make the underlying problem go away. After three to four weeks, most Alzheimer's patients show signs of earlier, less severe dementia stages. They talk better. They remember things better. They are more able to concentrate. They have fewer difficulties with tasks of daily living. But even though these improvements may last a year, or with another round of treatment, two, Alzheimer's inevitably comes back and deterioration occurs.
- People with Alzheimer's usually respond to a specific form of curcumin (the antioxidant found in turmeric) called Longvida. Although there are many excellent curcumin and turmeric products on the market, Longvida is the form of curcumin that can cross the blood-brain barrier to exert a healing effect on neurons. Laboratory tests at Ohio State University and the Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles have found that it stops the progression and even dissolves the plaques and tangles that "strangle" neurons in the Alzheimer's brain. It's inexpensive, it has very few and only minor side effects, and it's easy to find, although only Longvida has this brain benefit. Many families report that restores people with mild Alzheimer's to most of their normal function, enabling them to stay at home or even on the job. Longvida costs about $25 a month.
- While the NeuronixAD system is not available in North America, transcranial magnetic therapy is. It is usually marketed as a method of pain control. You need a doctor's prescription to get your insurance company to pay for the device, but you can buy one from the manufacturer or, if you have some skill with electrical work, build your own. Using this kind of device entirely on your own, however, is not without its dangers. Seizures have never been reported with NeuroAD, but they have been reported with home transcranial magnetic stimulation devices. Syncope, passing out, also occurs. Some people have experienced hearing loss, and stimulating the wrong parts of the brain (just wearing a head band, for example), can actually result in more memory problems. Magnet systems have been "too" successful in treating depression; sometimes an equally undesirable condition called hypomania may also occur.
Many people find many ways to help their loved ones do better with Alzheimer's. Maybe you will be the only person to notice, other than your loved one. Any kind of treatment for Alzheimer's that actually makes a difference is labor intensive, but if you love the person you care for, you will also be enriched.
There is just one other thing to remember about helping someone with dementia that experts often forget to mention. "Getting better" doesn't mean someone is normal. If your treatment improves dementia symptoms so that someone is more likely to get up and fall, or more likely to go exploring and get lost on the way, you need to take appropriate measures to help them avoid injury.