Stimulation of the hypothalamus can affect memory
Recent findings reported in the Annals of Neurology reveal that stimulation of the hypothalamus can affect memory. Recently, a fifty-year-old man, while undergoing deep-brain stimulation of the hypothalamus, had memories from thirty years prior flood back into his mind. According to Andres M. Lozano, M.D., Ph.D., of Toronto Western Hospital, three weeks of deep brain stimulation in this region resulted in memory improvement, as measured by verbal and spatial associative tests, for the patient.
These findings could result in studies on the treatment’s effectiveness on patients with Alzheimer’s. According to Dr. Lozano, “It tells us about the circuitry of memory. It tells us that the circuits can be modified by the application of electrical current. One could then visage that it might be possible to stimulate these same circuits in patients who have memory disorders to try to enhance memory function.” The following is an excerpt of an article from Medpage Today that reviews the study:
Deep-brain stimulation has most commonly been used in the motor cortex to improve motor function of patients with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders.
Stimulation of the hypothalamus has also been used to treat cluster headaches and even aggressiveness, while animal models have shown it can influence feeding behavior as well.
Because of the potential effect on appetite, the researchers offered hypothalamic deep-brain stimulation to the 50-year-old man with a body mass index of 55.1 kg/m2.
“He refused gastric bypass and bariatric surgery feeling that he would continue eating excessively despite these interventions,” the researchers said.
The patient had comorbid type II diabetes, hypertension, and obstructive sleep apnea but had failed treatment for obesity including diets, psychological interventions, group therapies, and medications.