(Originally posted on March 31, 2015)
Australian scientists have successfully tested a new Alzheimer’s treatment on mice. This new treatment incorporates the use of ultrasound technology instead of drugs to clear plaques and restore memory. Current Alzheimer’s treatments only work for a short time and do not remove plaques. This new treatment option has the potential to be much more effective as well as less expensive.
One of the study’s authors, Professor Jürgen Götz, who is the director of the Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research in Australia, said, “We are extremely excited by this innovation of treating Alzheimer’s without using drug therapeutics.”
He went on to explain how the treatment works. Rapidly oscillating ultrasound waves activate cells which digest and remove plaques that destroy connections in the brain. The study used high energy ultrasound to clear the buildup of toxic plaques in the brains of mice that contained the same plaques found in Alzheimer’s patients. The researchers were able to clear plaques and restore memory function to the level of normal, healthy mice in 75% of the test subjects.
“The word ‘breakthrough’ is often misused, but in this case, I think this really does fundamentally change our understanding of how to treat this disease, and I foresee a great future for this approach.” Professor Götz went on to say.
The research will also look at restoring functions in the brains of people with illnesses similar to Alzheimer’s. Human testing of this new approach is still a few years away. The studies will begin to include other types of animals and researchers will be paying close attention to any side effects that may surface.