Alzheimer’s is a brutal disease. If you’ve ever known anyone with it, you can attest to that. 50 million people worldwide suffer from it. The cause is a buildup of two types of lesions in the brain.
The first, amyloid plaques, are a sticky protein that develops between the neurons of the brain. This causes neurons difficulty in transmitting messages to one another, thus slowing down the entire operation.
The second type of lesion, neurofibrillary tangles, are another thick type of protein that forms between the neurons.
Researchers from the Queensland Brain Institute at the University of Queensland think they may have stumbled upon a solution. As reported in Science Translational Medicine, the team documented some impressive results by using a type of ultrasound that restores the brain function in mice. The ultrasound beams waves into the brain and breaks up the protein lesions that cause the decrease in memory function.
Researchers found they could restore 75% of memory function in mice.
“We’re extremely excited by this innovation of treating Alzheimer’s without using drug therapeutics.” said Jürgen Götz. “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.”
The team is planning to expand their test to human trials by 2017.
Higher Perspectives Author is one of the authors writing for Higher Perspectives