Breakthrough Non-Invasive Treatment for Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Breakthrough Non-Invasive Treatment for Alzheimer’s and Dementia

By Shinji Tutoru

UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA. An affordable, mobile and non-invasive ultrasound technology has successfully been proven to help restore memory loss in mice. This is a medical breakthrough in treating Alzheimer’s and dementia since it is the first non-invasive, drug-free treatment. Existing treatments only work to mask the symptoms and not cure the underlying cause of the disease.

The researchers at the University of Queensland’s Brain Institute looked for new methods that could cure Alzheimer’s. Research director Professor Jürgen Götz said that this non-invasive and drug-free treatment is revolutionary since it has never been done before. In this innovative method, ultrasound waves oscillating very rapidly activate microglial cells that digest and remove the amyloid plaques that destroy brain synapses.

This technique is remarkably effective on mice and will be very helpful in treating patients suffering from the disease especially those diagnosed at early stages. The method temporarily opens the blood-brain barrier. This activates mechanisms that clear toxic protein clumps, thus restoring various memory functions. The method only opens the blood-brain barrier for a few hours so its protective role is quickly restored.

Another benefit of this mobile non-invasive ultrasound device is that it will greatly reduce the costs of treatment. With Dementia cases on the rise and expected to increase from 342,800 cases to 900,000 cases by 2050, the average cost of drug therapies is $250,000. In Australia alone, a quarter of a million Australians and more than two-thirds of dementia patients are suffering from Alzheimer’s. The device makes use of affordable microbubble and ultrasound technology which is both effective and non-invasive. Hopefully, the goal will be that patients are able to take the mobile device home and use many times a year to cure the disease.

As this method has been proven to be effective on mice, future research will involve testing it on sheep with an Alzheimer’s model. The study is also examining if the method can clear toxic protein aggregates in neurodegenerative diseases other than Alzheimer’s and restore executive functions like motor control and decision-making.

Invention Alzheimer’s and Dementia’s Breakthrough Non-Invasive Treatment
Organization University of Queensland
Researcher Professor Jürgen Götz & Team
Field(s) Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, memory loss, medicine
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