Improve brain performance in Alzheimer’s with a new ultrasound method
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. With the death of nerve cells in the brain, sick people become increasingly forgetful, confused and disoriented. Researchers are now reporting that the brain performance of people with Alzheimer’s can be significantly improved with a new therapy method.
The AlzheimerDisease is the most common form of dementia. Around 1.2 million people are affected in Germany alone. So far, the disease has not been stopped. But there are ways to treat Alzheimer’s and its sequelae. A new ultrasound method could also help.
Brain nerve cells perish
Like the Medical University (MedUni) Vienna in a current Message writes that neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s dementia, Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis (MS) constantly destroy the brain’s nerve cells, which can lead to gaps in memory, speech disorders, mood swings or reduced mobility as well as muscle tremors Parkinson,
After six years of development, researchers at MedUni Vienna from the University Clinic for Neurology under the direction of Roland Beisteiner have now developed a new method of therapy worldwide.
According to the information, ultrasound can be used for the first time to penetrate all areas of the brain non-invasively and activate those nerve cells that can contribute to the regeneration of brain functions. Initial data show that this can improve brain performance.
Transcranial pulse stimulation with ultrasound
The new method is called transcranial pulse stimulation with ultrasound (TPS). It was newly developed together with the Swiss business partner Storz Medical and the local project manager Ernst Marlinghaus.
“The TPS makes it possible for the first time worldwide to penetrate all areas of the brain with an ultrasound pulse directly on the cranial bone, non-invasively, painlessly and with full awareness, and to specifically target and activate brain areas there,” explains Beisteiner.
The study was part of the inter-university cluster of Roland Beisteiner and Tecumseh Fitch, which tries to improve the mental functions of patients via brain stimulation and is operated jointly by MedUni Vienna and the University of Vienna. This must be done individually and with high precision.
With the electromagnetic methods available so far, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), in which magnetic fields act on the brain to activate or inhibit nerve cells, the necessary targeted and in-depth stimulation was not possible.
An increasingly used invasive method for more serious diseases is the insertion of stimulation electrodes in deep brain areas (deep brain stimulation (DBS)) – combined with a lengthy operation. A great hope now is that TPS can also partially replace invasive procedures in the future.
Memory performance increases
According to the information, the activation pulse emanating from the ultrasound device is three to five millimeters wide and about three centimeters long. Before that, the brain of the person concerned creates an exact “map” using magnetic resonance.
“In the spirit of precision medicine, the area that needs to be activated is then targeted precisely. These areas can be different for each patient. Thanks to a navigation system, the treating neurologist can precisely monitor on the screen where the pulse must start and control everything precisely, ”says Beisteiner.
As explained in the communication, the TPS pulse leads to short-term membrane changes in the brain cells, which locally changes the concentration of transmitters and other biochemicals. The consequence is an activation of nerve cells and the establishment of compensatory networks that improve the diseased brain function.
This has already been shown in extensive laboratory studies. The result: the memory network is driven and memory performance increases. Some patients also report a significant improvement in mood, it is easier for them to be physically active and to actively participate in conversations.
“It’s like starting an old engine again. Those nerve cells that can still be activated then show significant improvements. This slows down the drop in performance, ”says Beisteiner.
Different possible areas of application
In addition to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or MS, all diseases that can be improved by activating still functioning nerve cells are possible areas of application for TPS. At the same time, according to Beisteiner, the TPS is an “additional chance” for those affected, since all ongoing therapies can be continued with medication and physiotherapy or occupational therapy.
However, the new method is also important for basic neuroscientific research. In the clinical pilot study published in the specialist magazine “Advanced science“Was published, six sessions of one hour each and that over the course of two weeks.
If the pilot results are confirmed, a breakthrough in treatment options for brain diseases is expected. Before this method can be used regularly in the clinic, however, further scientific studies are necessary to evaluate the results. (Ad)
- Medical University of Vienna: Alzheimer’s: Significantly improve brain performance with a new ultrasound method, (accessed: January 13, 2020), medical university Vienna
- Roland Beisteiner, Eva Matt, Christina Fan, Heike Baldysiak, Marleen Schönfeld, Tabea Philippi-Novak, Ahmad Amini, Tuna Aslan, Raphael Reinecke, Johann Lehrner, Alexandra Weber, Ulrike Reime, Cédric Goldenstedt, Ernst Marlinghaus, Mark Hallett, Henning Lohse- Busch: Transcranial Pulse Stimulation with Ultrasound in Alzheimer’s Disease — A New Navigated Focal Brain Therapy; in: Advanced Science, (published: 12/23/2019), Advanced science
This article contains general information only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.