Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by martyb on Friday August 19 2016, @09:52AM   Printer-friendly
from the finally-some-good-news dept.

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This discussion has been archived.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: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 19 2016, @10:02AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 19 2016, @10:02AM (#390017)

    Aw crap. Are we going to have to be honest about ageism now? Without declining performance reviews, how are we going to justify firing older workers for being too damn old?

    Starting Score:    0  points
    Moderation   +2  
       Insightful=2, Total=2
    Extra 'Insightful' Modifier   0  

    Total Score:   2  
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 19 2016, @10:31AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 19 2016, @10:31AM (#390021)

    We can still give them negative performance reviews based on:
    - being crotchety or curmudgeonly
    - number of daily bathroom visits
    - smell (gas, staleness and/or age-related rotting flesh)
    - inappropriate comments that were acceptable when they were younger
    - their choice in music (including their complaints about ours)
    - the meandering tales of their youth or other life experiences

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 19 2016, @11:49AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 19 2016, @11:49AM (#390030)

      their choice in music

      This research gives old people yet another reason to play 15 kHz tones. :)