(This article appeared previously on PBS NewsHour.)
A team of Australian researchers recently found that ultrasound waves have helped restore memory to mice with Alzheimer’s disease, potentially bringing scientists closer to finding a way to prevent the disease.
Alzheimer’s, which affects more than 5 million Americans, is a result of a build-up of amyloid-β in the brain. The plaque prevents communication between brain cells, and a patient with Alzheimer’s has a more difficult time breaking apart the plaque. According to Popular Science, breaking down the plaque is difficult due to a “layer of tightly bound cells that separates the blood, water and other chemicals that are inside the brain from those outside it.” Most drugs that would break up the plaque are not able to get past the barrier.
“The Australian team sent ultrasound waves — sound waves that move at a much higher frequency than humans can hear — at the mice’s brains,” according to Popular Science. The team found that the waves stimulated microglia, a cell that attacks unwanted items in the brain and strengthens the immune system. The researchers found that 75 percent of the mice that underwent the treatment had a severe decrease of plaque.
The team hopes to test the method on sheep before starting on humans.
Next Avenue Editors Also Recommend:
- ‘Still Alice’ Author On How to Spot Signs of Dementia
- Alzheimer’s Meets The Red Carpet
- Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s
- When Alzheimer’s Strikes: Losing Your Money Mind
Next Avenue brings you stories that are inspiring and change lives. We know that because we hear it from our readers every single day. One reader says,
"Every time I read a post, I feel like I'm able to take a single, clear lesson away from it, which is why I think it's so great."
Your generous donation will help us continue to bring you the information you care about. What story will you help make possible?
This article is reprinted with permission from NewsHour Productions LLC. © 1996 - 2017 NewsHour Productions LLC. All Rights Reserved