An experimental, non-invasive technique using targeted ultrasound has shown promise in lab animals towards eliminating brain plaques that cause Alzheimer’s disease, an incurable form of dementia, researchers said.
Tests on mice showed the approach — using sound waves to penetrate tissue much the same way as ultrasounds are used to detect fetal shape and movement in pregnant women — eliminated almost all amyloid plaque in 75 percent of the animals studied, without damaging brain tissue, according to the study in the US journal Science Translational Medicine.
The therapy was delivered to the animals with a mouse version of Alzheimer’s disease over the course of several weeks.
At the end, most of the treated animals were performing better in mazes, memory tests and other basic tasks than untreated mice.
Researchers at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia plan to test the method in sheep next.
It remains unknown whether or not the approach could be safe or effective in people.