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Can Scanning Ultrasound Effectively Treat Alzheimer’s Disease?

By Jennifer Thompson, 9:00 am on

A study by scientists Gerhard Leinenga and Jurgen Gotz from the University of Queensland in Australia has discovered a revolutionary method that may one day be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease. The study examined methods of breaking up the clumps of protein called amyloid plaques that build up in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Providers of Alzheimer’s and Nashville dementia home care explain the study and its intriguing findings.

What Happened During the Study?

The study used mice that were genetically engineered to have brain structures similar to those with Alzheimer’s. The mice were injected with microbubbles, which help substances cross the blood-brain barrier, a membrane that protects the brain from bacteria and other substances. The mice were then placed under an ultrasound and scanned over a five-week period. The resulting high-energy sound waves vibrated through the brain so quickly that they broke up the amyloid plaques and the microbubbles carried them out of the brain for disposal. After treatment, the amyloid plaques were reduced by half and the mice could perform as well as normal mice in mazes and memory tests.

Could Ultrasound Scanning Treat Humans?

This treatment shows potential, but it may be a while before scientists begin testing on humans. Human brains and skulls are larger and more complex than mice brains, and these differences must be taken into account. Though the mice did not show any signs of damaged brain tissue after the ultrasound scanning, it might have a different effect on humans. Since human skulls are thicker, a stronger ray would need to be used and this could potentially harm healthy brain tissue in addition to harmful amyloid plaques. The researchers plan to test this treatment on sheep next as they have larger brains. If those trials and tests go well, they will continue modifying the treatment until it is ready to be used on humans with Alzheimer’s.

While scientists and researchers work to fight Alzheimer’s, seniors with the disease have other resources to turn to. Home Care Assistance is a trusted provider of elderly home care Nashville families can rely upon. We offer seniors the companionship and emotional support they need in addition to personal care assistance. For more information regarding Nashville Alzheimer’s care or to learn about our other services, contact a knowledgeable Care Manager at (615) 656-4999 today.