Researchers from the Queensland Brain Institute at the University of Queensland in Australia are working on a way to remove beta-amyloid plaques. Their research was published in Science Translational Medicine.
The new treatment uses focused therapeutic ultrasound to beam sound waves into the brain. These sound waves oscillate very fast and appear to gently open up the blood-brain barrier. This barrier normally helps protect the brain from germs.
The waves also activate special cells that are responsible for removing waste from the brain. These activated cells are able to clear out the beta-amyloid clumps, restoring communication between nerve cells in the brain.
So far, the researchers have only tested their method on mice. They report that 75 percent of the mice that received the treatment had their memory function fully restored.
The researchers plan to advance their testing to larger animals soon and hope to begin human trials of the treatment in 2017.
Current treatments for Alzheimer’s disease use various medications to treat symptoms of the disease with a focus on maintaining mental function for as long as possible, managing symptoms and slowing the development of the disease.
If you have questions about brain function or Alzheimer’s disease, talk to your health care provider.
Reviewed March 16, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
1) Science Alert. New Alzheimer’s treatment fully restores memory function. Bec Crew. Web. March 15, 2016.
2) National Institute on Aging. Alzheimer’s Disease Fact Sheet. Web. March 15, 2016.
3) Alzheimer’s Association. Briaintour. Web. March 15, 2016.
4) National Institute on Aging. About Alzheimer’s Disease: Treatment. Web. March 15, 2016.