“Hello, my name is Matthew.”
For most, this simple statement of fact can easily be committed to memory, but for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, something as simple as remembering a loved one’s name can be impossible. It’s confusing for sufferers and heartbreaking for their families.
Nearly 5.1 million Americans currently suffer from memory loss due to Alzheimer’s or dementia. While many associate the disease with getting older, roughly 500,000 people under the age of 65 have been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. It is estimated that by the year 2050, 88.5 million, or 20 percent of the total U.S. population, will have some form of dementia.
Up to this point, there has been no cure for Alzheimer’s or dementia outside of drug treatments that have helped patients with behavioral aspects of the disease. However, a recently discovered Alzheimer’s treatment could soon help reverse memory loss.
Science Translational Medicine has published new research from Australian scientists about a new Alzheimer’s treatment that has successfully restored memory loss in mice.
This new treatment is based around noninvasive ultrasound that can clear the brain of neurotoxic amyloid plaques. These plaques, along with neurofibrillary tangles, are responsible for declining cognitive skills and memory loss in Alzheimer’s patients.
Amyloid plagues and neurofibrillary tangles are both sticky proteins found between and inside the neurons of the brain.
A team at the Queensland Brain Institute believes that they have found a way to eliminate amyloid proteins from the brain.
Using focused therapeutic ultrasound, scientists are able to insert rapidly moving sound waves into brain tissue. By gently opening the blood-brain barrier, the waves are able to reactivate microglila cells.
The main function of microglila cells is to remove waste in the brain that exacerbates Alzheimer’s symptoms.
Reports show success in restoring memory in 75 percent of test mice. Scientists also reported that the waves did not damage brain tissue.
“We’re extremely excited by this innovation of treating Alzheimer’s without using drug therapeutics,” said researcher Jürgen Götz.
The team will begin testing the treatment on large animals in the coming weeks and scientists hope to begin human trials in 2017.
Click here to read the full report on this new Alzheimer’s treatment.