Alzheimer’s disease and dementia take a huge toll on older men and women. The good news is a recent study shows ultrasound therapy restores notable memory function in mice. The research shows that focused sound waves open the blood brain barrier and allow natural processes that clear out proteins to function.
The most recent research from the lab of Professor Jürgen Götz at the Queensland Brain Institute confirms earlier studies showing that ultrasound therapy improved the memory function of mice with Alzheimer’s disease. This study, led by Dr. Richard Hatch, showed the positive effects of the therapy on normal mice brains as they age.
Hatch describes the latest research: “We found that, far from causing any damage to the healthy brain, ultrasound treatments may in fact have potential beneficial effects for healthy aging brains.”
He goes on to note: “What we found is that treating mice with scanning ultrasound prevents this reduction in [hippocampal] structure, which suggests that by using this approach, we can keep the structure of the brain younger as we get older.”
In the study, the mice were given one or six ultrasound treatments over six weeks. The brain cell structure and function of the mice were analyzed at multiple intervals post treatment. The next research project by the lab will test the effect of ultrasound on older mice.
“We’re extremely excited by this innovation of treating Alzheimer’s without using drug therapeutics,” Götz said.
“This… restored memory function to the same level of normal healthy mice.”
“The ultrasound waves… activate microglial cells that digest and remove the amyloid plaques that destroy brain synapses,” he explained. “With our approach, the blood-brain barrier’s opening is only for a few hours, so it quickly restores its protective role.”
The next step in the project is research in higher animals, then human clinical trials. Experts note that human trials are still at least two years away.