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Alzheimer's study boost revealed

Magnetic brain stimulation could help boost language skills for people with moderate Alzheimer's, according to researchers in Italy.

A technique known as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation was used with five Alzheimer's patients for 25 minutes, five days a week for a total of four weeks.

A further five were given the treatment for two weeks, along with a two-week dummy course.

Those who took the full treatment scored more highly on sentence comprehension tests (77% success compared to 66%), although other cognitive functions remained unchanged.

Rebecca Wood, Chief Executive of the UK's leading dementia research charity, the Alzheimer's Research Trust, said: "There is very little certainty around this kind of magnetic stimulation as a treatment approach to Alzheimer's, but the interesting results of this small study may warrant additional investigation in larger populations.

"Further comprehensive studies could explore whether the approach can be adjusted to relieve other symptoms of Alzheimer's, in particular the memory problems which bring so much distress to people living with the disease.

"Research is the only answer to dementia, which poses the greatest medical challenge of the 21st century. We must invest in research now to avoid massive increases in the prevalence of this devastating condition."

The results of the small study are published in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.

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Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry