Researchers say a head device that emits electromagnetic impulses may be able to reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s, according to a study published Sept. 3 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Eight patients with mild or moderate forms of Alzheimer’s took part in a two-month clinical trial, which required them to each be fitted with a MemorEM head cap for two hours a day.
The experimental transcranial electromagnetic treatment (TEMT) was administered twice daily, for one hour at a time, and researchers say they saw “enhanced cognitive performance” in seven of the eight patients.
Likewise, all patients except one who took part in experimental transcranial electromagnetic treatment (TEMT), showed a “highly significant improvement” when their memory, language, attention, behavior, and moods were tested.
The trial was led by Arizona-based private company NeuroEM Therapeutics, the developer of the TEMT wearable head device.
Its researchers claim the device can significantly reverse memory loss in Alzheimer’s by directly breaking up toxic protein formed in the brain that have been linked to the disorder—something current drugs struggle to do.
The treatment works by breaking up the toxic amyloid-beta and tau protein clumps that prevent nerve cells from working properly, allowing them to function normally, researchers say.
The breakthrough study had the patients measured on the ADAS-cog scale, which measures the severity of Alzheimer’s symptoms. A person without the disorder runs an average of five on the scale, while an individual with Alzheimer’s runs an average of 31.
After the two months, seven of the eight patients shifted on average four points on the scale, according to the study.
Alzheimer’s patients on average move up the scale by about four points each year, so researchers are suggesting the TEMT treatment can rewind the clock for patients by about a year in the space of two months.
One person involved in the trial showed a 50 percent improvement in their word recall performance tests.
Dr. Gary Arendash, the company’s chief executive officer, said they “were particularly surprised that this highly significant improvement in the ADAS-cog was maintained even two weeks after treatment was completed.”
“The most likely explanation for continued benefit after cessation of treatment is that the Alzheimer’s disease process itself was being affected,” he added.
“Perhaps the best indication that the two months of treatment was having a clinically-important effect on the AD patients in this study is that none of the patients wanted to return their head device after the study was completed.”
None of the patients showed any signs of side effects or brain damage from TEMT, NeuroEM said. The company plans to conduct a larger trial later this year with 150 participants, for a period of around 17 months.
NeuroEM Therapeutics hopes to have the device approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the coming years, so that in can be available to the public by 2021.
No Cure for Alzheimer’s
People who suffer from Alzheimer’s often experience a decline in memory, thinking, and reasoning skills.
There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s, but drugs are available that temper its impact and slow some of the debilitating symptoms, such as memory decline.
The Alzheimer’s Association says there are 10 symptoms of the disease, including disruptive memory loss, challenges in planning or solving problems, difficulty in completing familiar tasks, confusion with time and place, as well as misplacing things.
An estimated 5.7 million Americans of all ages are living with Alzheimer’s disease in 2019, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Worldwide, the number of people living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia is estimated at 50 million.
The Association predicts that by 2050, the number of people living with the disease in the United States is estimated to rise to almost 14 million, and the costs of Alzheimer’s to the nation will grow from the current $277 billion to as much as $1.1 trillion.
“Every 65 seconds someone in the United States develops the disease,” the Association states.
Epoch Times reporter Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.