Our friends in Australia have released information on a new Alzheimer’s treatment program that shows promise. At least in mice. I’ll share the information below but before I do it reminds me of this section from a Scottish poem written by Robert Burns in 1785. Here it it:
But little Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!
There have been many attempts to help solve the grief and pain associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Here’s hoping that this new Alzheimer’s treatment does not go askew but actually delivers a real hope to untangle the main cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Here’s the article that caught my attention.
New Alzheimer’s treatment fully restores memory function
Of the mice that received the treatment, 75 percent got their memory function back.
Australian researchers have come up with a non-invasive ultrasound technology that clears the brain of neurotoxic amyloid plaques – structures that are responsible for memory loss and a decline in cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients.
If a person has Alzheimer’s disease, it’s usually the result of a build-up of two types of lesions – amyloid plaques, and neurofibrillary tangles. Amyloid plaques sit between the neurons and end up as dense clusters of beta-amyloid molecules, a sticky type of protein that clumps together and forms plaques.
Neurofibrillary tangles are found inside the neurons of the brain, and they’re caused by defective tau proteins that clump up into a thick, insoluble mass. This causes tiny filaments called microtubules to get all twisted, which disrupts the transportation of essential materials such as nutrients and organelles along them, just like when you twist up the vacuum cleaner tube.
As we don’t have any kind of vaccine or preventative measure for Alzheimer’s – a disease that affects 343,000 people in Australia, and 50 million worldwide – it’s been a race to figure out how best to treat it, starting with how to clear the build-up of defective beta-amyloid and tau proteins from a patient’s brain. Now a team from the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) at the University of Queensland have come up with a pretty promising solution for removing the former.
Publishing in Science Translational Medicine, the team describes the technique as using a particular type of ultrasound called a focused therapeutic ultrasound, which non-invasively beams sound waves into the brain tissue. By oscillating super-fast, these sound waves are able to gently open up the blood-brain barrier, which is a layer that protects the brain against bacteria, and stimulate the brain’s microglial cells to activate. Microglial cells are basically waste-removal cells, so they’re able to clear out the toxic beta-amyloid clumps that are responsible for the worst symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
The team reports fully restoring the memory function of 75 percent of the mice they tested it on, with zero damage to the surrounding brain tissue. They found that the treated mice displayed improved performance in three memory tasks – a maze, a test to get them to recognize new objects, and one to get them to remember the places they should avoid.
“We’re extremely excited by this innovation of treating Alzheimer’s without using drug therapeutics,” one of the team, 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 says they’re planning on starting trials with higher animal models, such as sheep, and hope to get their human trials underway in 2017. You can hear an ABC radio interview with the team here.
Here is the direct link for the above article on this Alzheimer’s treatment:
Here is the direct link to the interview on ABC Radio with the researchers for this new and promising Alzheimer’s treatment program:
The above article used ultrasound waves. When I did a Google search in this area I also found the following article from a small human study done in Canada. In this study they used sound vibration to stimulate the brain of Alzheimer’s patients. Below is the title to the article and a direct link if you would like to read it.
Sound vibration treatment may boost brain activity in Alzheimer’s patients
I hope you found this information on new Alzheimer’s treatment programs beneficial.