Potential non-invasive treatment for Alzheimer’s disease


Credit: University of Queensland

Researchers at the University of Queensland have found that ultrasound can overcome some of the harmful effects of aging and dementia without having to cross the blood-brain barrier.

Professor Jürgen Götz of the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) at UQ led an interdisciplinary team which showed low intensity. Ultrasound Effectively restores cognition without opening the barriers of the mouse model.

The findings offer a potential new avenue for non-invasive technology and help clinicians adjust treatment to accommodate an individual’s disease progression. Decline of cognition.

“Historically, we have used ultrasound and small gas-filled bubbles to open the blood-brain barrier, which is almost inaccessible, and to get therapeutic agents out of blood flow to the brain.” Said Professor Götz.

The new study included a designated control group who received ultrasound without barrier-opening microbubbles.

“The whole research team was amazed at the remarkable recovery of cognition,” he said.

“We conclude that ultrasound therapy is a non-invasive method of educating the elderly.”

Aging is associated with cognitive impairment and reduced plasticity induced by learning signal transduction between neurons called long-term potentiation (LTP).

Dr Daniel Blackmore, the team’s lead postdoctoral researcher, said the new study aims to use ultrasound to restore LTP and improve spatial learning in older mice.

Professor Getz said the brain is “particularly inaccessible”, but the ultrasound blood-brain barrier ..

“Ultrasound can be used to increase cognition in people with Alzheimer’s disease, independent of the removal of amyloid and tau that form amyloid plaque and neurofibrillary tangles,” he said .

“Microbubbles will continue to be used in conjunction with ultrasound in ongoing research into Alzheimer’s disease.

About 400,000 people in Australia suffer from dementia, which is expected to reach 1 million by 2050, with aging being the main risk factor.

Previous studies have shown that the long-term safety of ultrasound technology and the use of ultrasound to treat Alzheimer’s disease can improve pathological changes and cognitive impairment.

Professor Getz said the difference between normal “physiological” aging and the “pathological” aging that occurs in Alzheimer’s disease remains questionable.

“We believe there may be some overlap between physiological and pathological brain aging, and the possibility that this can be corrected by ultrasound is for people living with Alzheimer’s disease. It makes sense. disease, ”he said.

“We are integrating these findings and implementing them in Alzheimer’s disease research as we move forward into clinical trials. “

Prof. Getz’s research team at the Krem Jones Center for Aging Dementia at QBI’s brain The disease begins and progresses at the molecular and cellular levels, in the hopes of developing a cure.

The study was published in Nature Journal Molecular psychiatry..

Ultrasound and drug research has potential for Alzheimer’s disease

For more information:
Daniel G. Blackmore et al, Low-intensity ultrasound restores potentiation and long-term memory in aging mice through a pleiotropy mechanism that includes NMDAR signaling. Molecular psychiatry (2021). DOI: 10.1038 / s41380-021-01129-7

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University of Queensland

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