Good News – New Alzheimer's Treatment Fully Restores Memory Without Side Effects
After a many decades long struggle from medical teams everywhere to help over 50 million Alzheimer’s patients all over the world to improve, one research team seems to finally have broken real ground on restoring memory function. This is a tragic illness that previously has had very little promise of a full cure, with no vaccines or clear preventative measures, so this new research is certainly a bright and shining beacon of hope.
In Alzheimer’s, the cause for cognitive function decline and memory loss is the build up of a couple of different lesions in the brain. These lesions are: neurofibrillary tangles – which are caused by defective “tau” proteins that form into a big mass that is insoluble and ends up preventing essential nutrients to be transported properly, and amyloid plaques – which settle between neurons and collect into clusters of molecules called beta-amyloids and form a sticky protein. This clumps together and becomes a neurotoxic plaque.
This research team from Queensland Brain Institute in Queensland, Australia has come up with a brilliant, non-invasive ultrasound technology that clears the brain of these amyloid plaques. This new treatment involves using a non invasive type of ultrasound called a “focused therapeutic ultrasound”. This special ultrasound beams quickly oscillating sound waves into brain tissue. These fast moving waves open up the blood-brain barrier, as well as invite the brain’s microglial cells to enter. Microglial cells have the ability to remove waste, so they effectively remove the toxic lesions of beta-amyloid clumps. Within a few hours, the blood brain barrier (which is a protection against bacteria) is fully closed and restored without side effects.
During trials on mice, 75% of the test subjects had fully restored memories with no damage whatsoever to the surrounding brain tissue. These mice were found to have performance improvement in three different memory tasks – a test to recognize new objects, a test to see if they remember places they should avoid, and a maze.
Research team member Jürgen Götz said in a press release,
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 hopes that tests on humans will be underway by 2017. For now, they plan to conduct trials using higher animals such as sheep.
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