Italian researchers reported positive results in a small study involving ten patients with Alzheimer's Disease who underwent repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation - a technique that delivers several magnetic pulses to the brain in rapid sequences at various frequencies.
The goal was to determine if the magnetic pulses could be a treatment for the cognitive deficits of Alzheimer's patients. The ten patients were randomly placed in two groups with the first group undergoing four weeks of treatment with the magnetic stimulation and the second group undergoing two weeks of fakes or placebo treatment followed by two weeks of real treatment.
The patients were tested for cognitive performance before treatment began at two weeks, four weeks and eight weeks after the regimen ended. The researchers reported that those undergoing the magnetic pulse treatments had significant differences in the correct responses they made, demonstrating comprehension of spoken sentences.
"Only real treatment induced an improvement in performance with respect to baseline or placebo," the authors wrote in the study published online in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. "Moreover, both groups showed a lasting effect on the improved performance eight weeks after the end of treatment."