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Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia have discovered a non-invasive ultrasound technique that appears to rid the brain of neurotoxic beta amyloid plaques. These plaques are responsible for memory loss and a decline in cognitive function in Alzheimers patients.
The technique uses a specific kind of ultrasound called a focused therapeutic ultrasound, which non-invasively emits sound waves into the brain tissue. The rapid oscillations created by these sound waves are able to gently open up the blood-brain barrier and stimulate the brain’s microglial cells. Microglila cells clear out beta-amyloid cells that are responsible for Alzheimers symptoms.
The researchers injected beta amyloid into the brains of the mice. Then the mice were then subjected to the ultrasound procedure. The researchers found that the mice subjected to the ultrasound treatment performed far better on tests that evaluate long-term memory, spatial memory and short-term memory compared to the mice that didn’t receive the ultrasound treatment.
“We’re extremely excited by this innovation of treating Alzheimers 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.”
“This method uses relatively inexpensive ultrasound and microbubble technology which is non-invasive and appears highly effective. We’re also working on seeing whether this method clears toxic protein aggregates in neurodegenerative diseases other than Alzheimer’s and whether this also restores executive functions, including decision-making and motor control.”
Nearly 36 million people worldwide including approximately a quarter of a million Australians suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. The total number of dementia cases in Australia is expected to rise to 900,000 by 2050.
Findings of the research, “Scanning ultrasound efficiently removes amyloid-β and restores memory in an Alzheimers model”, are published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
For Further Information
More on the markets for ultrasound imaging equipment in the U.S. can be found in this 2015 edition report published by iData entitled U.S. Market for Ultrasound Imaging Equipment, which covers the U.S. as a whole, as well as market segments for radiology, cardiology, breast, urology, obstetrics/gynecology, surgery, vascular, ophthalmic, and point of care ultrasound equipment.
Full iData reports provide a comprehensive analysis including units sold, procedure numbers, market value, forecasts, as well as detailed competitive market shares and analysis of major players’ success strategies in each market and segment.
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