Research Paper Example on the Effects of Mental Stimulations During FMRI Scans

Date:  2021-06-15 02:11:52
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Alzheimers disease is a type of dementia that causes complications in the memory, behavior and the thinking of an individual. As a common form of dementia, Alzheimers is known to affect up to 70% of all the people who have dementia. It is approximated that an average of 23 million people suffers this memory loss situation. According to recent literature, the number of individuals suffering from dementia is said to grow steadily, especially among the old. Usually, in the early stages of the Alzheimers disease, those prone to or even those who suffer the disease experience mild to severe memory lapses which are coupled with difficulties in choosing the right words. Therefore, the process of analyzing those who suffer from this particular disease involves the FMRI scan, which is a commonly recognized technique used for both brain mapping and the provision of the anatomical information of the activity of the brain. Many at times, the FMRI scan involves the process of brain stimulation, a process of activating and inhibiting the brain directly with electricity. This process, is also effective in the acceleration of the diseases treatment and diagnosis process. This being the case, this paper seeks to discuss the various impacts of mental stimulation when done during the FMRI scan during the diagnosis and treatment of patients suffering from Alzheimer Disease.

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Firstly, owing to the fact that many Alzheimer disease patients are often resistant to pharmacotherapy, other alternative therapeutic strategies are, therefore, considered imperative. For these reasons, brain stimulation, which is categorized into two, either non-invasive or non-lesional, is considered one of the most promising therapeutic option, which over the past couple of years, and has been extensively used, to accelerate the diagnosis and the treatment of the Alzheimers disease. There seems to be a vast range of similarities between studies done by different scholars with reference to the FMRI scan. It has been demonstrated that the Functional magnetic resonance (FMRI) is primarily based on the local haemodynamic changes that essentially influence the deoxy-hemoglobin changes that lead to the MR signal strength changes. This particular effect is what is known as the blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) contract.

Precisely, the Blood Oxygen Level Dependent (BOLD) effect of brain stimulation is said to reduce in accordance to the reduction of the oxyhaemoglobin concentration. According to current MRI brain mapping studies, different stimulating activities for Alzheimers condition that are conducted during the FMRI process have a diverse range of effects on different patients. For instance, while Alzheimers is said to affect behaviour and the senses of the sick person, mental stimulators, or the activities that can be enjoyed by an individual are have some of the following effects.

Help in stirring the patients memory and hence reduce memory fogginess and forgetfulness.

These kinds of stimulation foster emotional connections with each other

Additionally, when Alzheimers disease patients are encouraged to take part in mental stimulation activities, they are able to lessen the anxiety and the irritability that characterizes the Alzheimers condition.

Diverse types of mental stimulation make people who suffer Alzheimers to feel more engages with life since these stimulations foster their thinking capacities and mitigate any chances of memory lapses (Cohen, 2008).

When incorporated in the FMRI scans processes, mental stimulation, which involves processes that are desired to bring pleasure to those people who are prone to the disease, effectively improves the scores on memory and thinking tests for patients suffering from any form of dementia, that is considered equivalent to about six to nine months delay in the worsening of the symptoms. Besides, different scholars contend that dementia patients who actively engage in brain stimulation activities are said to have an increased feeling of well-being and hence a better quality of life, unlike those who do not participate in mental stimulation activities.

In addition, while in the course of conducting the FMRI scans, doctors and psychiatrists contend that people with mild to moderate stages of Alzheimers disease and other forms of dementia, benefited the most from mental stimulation. On the contrary, patients with severe dementia did not seem to benefit from extra stimulation since cognitive brain stimulation did not last long in those patients that suffered severe AD (Kathleen, 2007). For instance, in the modern day today, a majority of the older adults between the ages of 60 and 80 suffer AD, which is characterized by mental fogginess and repetitive memory lapses. However, during the analysis and the treatment of this condition, doctors put these patients of different types of mental stimulations such as the transcranial magnetic stimulation, TMS, which is administered as one of the very first trials to test the effects so as to test the effects that brain stimulation had on the Alzheimer condition.

In a similar vein, when the transcranial magnetic stimulations are administered during the FMRI scan, four most important brain sections are targeted in a span of approximately 12 minutes. During this process, very high-frequency bursts to both the right and the left frontal as well as the right parietal parts of the brain and hence causing what is considered as neurons fire. This, in essence, is important for boosting activity as well as strengthening the networks of the brain and hence helping in mitigating any forms of dementia and especially the Alzheimer condition.

Another form of mental stimulation that has significant effects on Alzheimers disease patients undergoing the FMRI scans is the transcranial direct current stimulation. Particularly, this mental stimulation process is considered as a non-invasive tool that is effectively used to modulate cortical excitability through the polarization of the brain, with the use of direct current. Like many other mental stimulation processes, the transcranial direct mental stimulation process affects the large surface cortical structures of the brain and hence easing in the severity of the Alzheimers disease. Besides, Theta burst stimulation, which is a special kind of transcranial direct mental stimulation is effective in the analysis of the Alzheimers disease during the FMRI scans since it induces more changes in the brain and hence reducing the effects if the Alzheimers condition. During this process, the Alzheimers disease affected regions are stimulated with connections that are essential for strengthening the communication of the neurons, which in turn, improve cognition, memory, concentration and attention in the AD patients.

As another means of combating the Alzheimers disease, the vagus nerve brain stimulation is used. In this regard, the Vagal Nerve (VN) afferents target the nucleus of the solitary tract and the Locus Coeruleus (LC) which is demonstrated by the fact that the vagal nerve that induces a significant increase in the noradrenaline. By so doing, the VNS is said to effectively improve cognitive function in the Alzheimers disease patients. Eventually, these patients demonstrate an improvement in their condition, which is also coupled with a constant cognitive function which does not decline upon treatment of the Alzheimers condition.

In a similar regard, deep brain stimulation, which also like other mental stimulation methods affectively affects the condition of the Alzheimers disease patients, involves implanting a neurostimulator which allows the transmission of electric stimulation in form of pulse generation in the specific brain regions that suffer the Alzheimers condition. This particular process involves a surgery which is performed under general anaesthesia. Besides, there are electrodes which are inserted into the affected brain areas according to the symptoms that are being treated. Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), like other forms of mental stimulation, has numerous positive effects on the Alzheimer patients. This is particularly evidenced by a particular study conducted by Laxton et al. (2010). In this particular study, Laxton concluded that, a decrease in glucose metabolism, often causes memory impairment, which according to different studies, is hailed as one of the most reliable clinical symptoms of the Alzheimers disease. Therefore, this being said, DBS is said to have positive implications on Alzheimers sufferers since the hippocampus plays a substantial role in encoding, retrieving and the consolidation of the declarative memory, which gives an Alzheimers disease relief to the patient.

In conclusion, mental stimulations are associated with activities that help mitigate and reduce the symptoms of the Alzheimers conditions. While some of the stimulation processes can be said to vary from one client to another, scholars have it that these processes are indeed the best approaches when it comes to the analysis and treatment of the Alzheimers condition.


Kathleen, Fankelmann. (April 3, 2007). Is it Aging or Alzheimer's? Retrieved from

Juliet, Cohen. (March 15, 2008). Health in health. Alzheimer's Disease. Retrieved from

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