Alzheimer’s disease is very difficult both for the patient and for its relatives since memory loss triggers many other issues.
A recent study done on mice has managed to successfully restore memory function. A new ultrasound technology might be the solution.
On Alzheimer’s disease
The terrible disease is the result of two types of lesions: amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Neurofibrillary tangles live inside the brain’s neurons and are caused by defective proteins which clump together into an insoluble mass. These cause the microtubes to get all tangles and the transportation of essential materials (nutrients and organelles) gets disrupted. Amyloid paques are found between neurons and when they clump together, they form dense clusters of beta-amyloid molecules.
Unfortunately, there has been no cure or vaccine discovered so far, and the disease affects in Australia alone over 343,000 people. Worldwide it is estimated that Alzheimer’s disease affects over 50 million people.
There is still hope left
A group of researchers from the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) from the University of Queensland have published their research in Science Translational Medicine. According to their research, the technique they used involving a therapeutic type of ultrasound has been successful on mice. The sound waves oscillate fast and thus opening blood-brain barriers and simulate microglial cells to become active. Microglial cells are responsible for the cleaning of the toxic beta-amyloid clumps, which are responsible for the worst symptoms of the disease.
The tests’ results showed a 75% memory function recovery on mice and no brain tissue damage. The mice had a good performance in the three memory tasks they applied.
The team also revealed that in 2017 they will start new trials with animals such as sheep and they also hope to start human trials. If proven effective on humans, Alzheimer’s worst symptoms could be removed.