Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by martyb on Thursday August 25 2016, @03:22PM   Printer-friendly
from the sounds-good-to-me dept.

A 25-year-old man recovering from a coma has made remarkable progress following a treatment at UCLA to jump-start his brain using ultrasound. The technique uses sonic stimulation to excite the neurons in the thalamus, an egg-shaped structure that serves as the brain's central hub for processing information.

"It's almost as if we were jump-starting the neurons back into function," said Martin Monti, the study's lead author and a UCLA associate professor of psychology and neurosurgery. "Until now, the only way to achieve this was a risky surgical procedure known as deep brain stimulation, in which electrodes are implanted directly inside the thalamus," he said. "Our approach directly targets the thalamus but is noninvasive."

[...] The technique, called low-intensity focused ultrasound pulsation, was pioneered by Alexander Bystritsky, a UCLA professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences in the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and a co-author of the study. Bystritsky is also a founder of Brainsonix, a Sherman Oaks, California-based company that provided the device the researchers used in the study.

That device, about the size of a coffee cup saucer, creates a small sphere of acoustic energy that can be aimed at different regions of the brain to excite brain tissue. For the new study, researchers placed it by the side of the man's head and activated it 10 times for 30 seconds each, in a 10-minute period.

Monti said the device is safe because it emits only a small amount of energy — less than a conventional Doppler ultrasound.

Three days after the treatment the patient in the study regained full consciousness and language comprehension.

Non-Invasive Ultrasonic Thalamic Stimulation in Disorders of Consciousness after Severe Brain Injury: A First-in-Man Report (DOI: 10.1016/j.brs.2016.07.008) (DX)

Related:
New Alzheimer's Treatment Fully Restores Memory Function in Mice
Sound Waves Could Help Speed Wound Healing


Original Submission

Related Stories

Sound Waves Could Help Speed Wound Healing 9 comments

Application of ultrasound has been shown to speed broken bone regeneration by one third, and even restore memory to mice with Alzheimer's. Now researchers have found that ultrasound can accelerate healing time of skin wounds too.

The elderly and those with diabetes can often develop chronic healing defects such as skin ulcers and bedsores. Chronic wounds like foot ulcers lead to major limb amputation if not healed properly. In a recent animal study published in the Journal of Investigative of Dermatology, researchers at the University of Bristol found that low-intensity ultrasound helped increase the healing time of wounds in diabetic and aged mice by 30 percent. This accelerated healing may not be as fast Wolverine's, but it could be the difference between keeping or losing a foot.

The equipment was not much different from what is used to monitor a foetus during pregnancy. However, the vibration of the sound waves activated a protein pathway that helped fibroblast cells, which are important to healing, migrate to the wound.

http://www.popsci.com/sound-waves-accelerate-healing

[Press Release]: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2015/july/skin-healing.html


Original Submission

New Alzheimer’s Treatment Fully Restores Memory Function in Mice 14 comments

Submitted via IRC for cmn32480 with a story that appeared in ScienceAlert:

Australian researchers have come up with a non-invasive ultrasound technology that clears the brain of neurotoxic amyloid plaques - structures that are responsible for memory loss and a decline in cognitive function in Alzheimer's patients.

If a person has Alzheimer's disease, it's usually the result of a build-up of two types of lesions - amyloid plaques, and neurofibrillary tangles. Amyloid plaques sit between the neurons and end up as dense clusters of beta-amyloid molecules, a sticky type of protein that clumps together and forms plaques.

Neurofibrillary tangles are found inside the neurons of the brain, and they're caused by defective tau proteins that clump up into a thick, insoluble mass. This causes tiny filaments called microtubules to get all twisted, which disrupts the transportation of essential materials such as nutrients and organelles along them, just like when you twist up the vacuum cleaner tube.

[...] Publishing in Science Translational Medicine , the team describes the technique as using a particular type of ultrasound called a focused therapeutic ultrasound, which non-invasively beams sound waves into the brain tissue. By oscillating super-fast, these sound waves are able to gently open up the blood-brain barrier, which is a layer that protects the brain against bacteria, and stimulate the brain's microglial cells to activate. Microglila cells are basically waste-removal cells, so they're able to clear out the toxic beta-amyloid clumps that are responsible for the worst symptoms of Alzheimer's.

The team reports fully restoring the memory function of 75 percent of the mice they tested it on, with zero damage to the surrounding brain tissue. They found that the treated mice displayed improved performance in three memory tasks - a maze, a test to get them to recognise new objects, and one to get them to remember the places they should avoid.

[...] The team says they're planning on starting trials with higher animal models, such as sheep, and hope to get their human trials underway in 2017.


Original Submission

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 25 2016, @03:55PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 25 2016, @03:55PM (#393076)

    This "sounds" like extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, but for one's brain. Where do the loose bits go once they've been dislodged?

    In my day, a whiff of smelling salts was enough to revive a lass who had been overcome by passion.

    • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Thursday August 25 2016, @04:16PM

      by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Thursday August 25 2016, @04:16PM (#393082) Journal

      I find a big glass of ice water, a quick pee break, and a shower work rather well in that case. Once my knees can support me.

      --
      I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 26 2016, @02:47AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 26 2016, @02:47AM (#393306)

        You are a lucky woman! Make sure to get her something special next Valentine's Day. ;)

    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Friday August 26 2016, @09:07AM

      by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Friday August 26 2016, @09:07AM (#393408) Homepage
      Maybe it was a whiff of your salty smell that overcame her in the first place?
      --
      Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
      • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Friday August 26 2016, @05:06PM

        by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Friday August 26 2016, @05:06PM (#393573) Journal

        Sounds like I'm not the salty one here =P Besides which, I shower at least once a day so that's not it.

        --
        I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
  • (Score: 2) by Gravis on Thursday August 25 2016, @05:50PM

    by Gravis (4596) on Thursday August 25 2016, @05:50PM (#393108)

    the comatose man briefly gained consciousness and said, "no, you get your baby. you wanted it, ya fuckin' bitch," and then lost consciousness once more. ;)

  • (Score: 1) by kurenai.tsubasa on Thursday August 25 2016, @06:17PM

    by kurenai.tsubasa (5227) on Thursday August 25 2016, @06:17PM (#393115) Journal

    I always wondered how Star Trek medical devices would work. It's not magic, it's ultrasound!

    • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Thursday August 25 2016, @09:04PM

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Thursday August 25 2016, @09:04PM (#393185) Homepage Journal

      They've used ultrasound to cure plantar warts since before 1964, because they used it on mine. I was 12, it hurt like hell!

      --
      mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 25 2016, @10:18PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 25 2016, @10:18PM (#393212)

        Ultrasound eh? About the same time some guy cut my plantar warts out, than a few years later a different doc used liquid nitrogen to freeze them out. Both hurt like hell!

  • (Score: 2) by Appalbarry on Thursday August 25 2016, @10:47PM

    by Appalbarry (66) on Thursday August 25 2016, @10:47PM (#393225) Journal

    Also, Canadian researchers are having success using MRI guided ultrasound on the thalamus to treat Essential Tremor.

    CBC story. [www.cbc.ca].