Alzheimer's Disease Treatment & Cure: Ultrasound Therapy May Help Restore Memory
A recent study may have found a way to cure Alzheimer's disease. The process involves sonic waves from ultrasounds to help fight the disease in the brain.
Science magazine explains the process and how it helps restore memory. According to the site, biophysicist Kullervo Hynynen originated the ultrasound method at the Sunnybrook Research Institute in Toronto.
The method centers around getting through a blood-brain barrier to directly treat the supposed cause of Alzheimer's. The magazine explains that the barrier is a tightly packed layer of cells which line the brain's blood vessels and protects it from outside threats.
The barrier apparently makes it very difficult for the brain to be treated. With the use of Hynynen's method, there is a way to break through the barrier by combining sonic waves and microbubbles.
Science magazine explains that microbubbles are first injected into the brain. Sonic waves from the ultrasound then help the bubbles expand and contract, which causes the cells that line the barrier to fall apart.
The result is a slightly leaky barrier, which allows antibodies to fight the amyloid that are believed to cause Alzheimer's. According to the site, a toxic protein, called β amyloid, clumps outside neurons in the brain causing the disease.
A brain cell, called microglia, is supposed to dispose of debris in the brain. Neurologist, Brian Bacskai from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston explains why microglia fail to clean up β amyloid.
He states that the toxic protein "seems to overwhelm microglia." Opening up the blood-brain barrier will allow anti-bodies to come and basically make the microglia do their jobs.
So far, the process has been tested on mice, who are bred for the Alzheimer's disease, reports the Los Angeles Times. The results have been positive. Amyloid build-up in the brain was reduced by 56% in the mice who received the treatment.
The LA Times adds that the treated mice were compared with mice who were not treated. The treated mice showed signs of reverting back to normal levels of navigational skills. They also performed better on a series of tests that assessed spatial, long-term, and short-term memory.
Bacskai warns, however, that the results might not be same when the treatment is tested on humans, reports Science magazine. He states that the treatment could scorch brain tissue, trigger an excessive immune reaction, or even cause a hemorrhage. It is also important to note that Bacskai used to work with Hynynen. Despite Bacskai's warnings, the study was published in the journal entitled "Science Translational Medicine," reports the LA Times.