Deep brain stimulation of the nucleus basalis of Meynert in Alzheimer's dementia
Kuhn J., Hardenacke K., Lenartz D., Gruendler T., Ullsperger M., Bartsch C., Mai JK., Zilles K., Bauer A., Matusch A., Schulz RJ., Noreik M., Bührle CP., Maintz D., Woopen C., Häussermann P., Hellmich M., Klosterkötter J., Wiltfang J., Maarouf M., Freund HJ., Sturm V.
© 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. Cholinergic neurons of the medial forebrain are considered important contributors to brain plasticity and neuromodulation. A reduction of cholinergic innervation can lead to pathophysiological changes of neurotransmission and is observed in Alzheimer's disease. Here we report on six patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD) treated with bilateral low-frequency deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the nucleus basalis of Meynert (NBM). During a four-week double-blind sham-controlled phase and a subsequent 11-month follow-up open label period, clinical outcome was assessed by neuropsychological examination using the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale - cognitive subscale as the primary outcome measure. Electroencephalography and 18F-fluoro-desoxyglucose positron emission tomography were, besides others, secondary endpoints. On the basis of stable or improved primary outcome parameters twelve months after surgery, four of the six patients were considered responders. No severe or non-transitional side effects related to the stimulation were observed. Taking into account all limitations of a pilot study, we conclude that DBS of the NBM is both technically feasible and well tolerated.