Researchers examine ultrasound as non-invasive treatment for Alzheimer’s disease


Ultrasound can overcome some of the detrimental effects of aging and dementia without the need to cross the blood-brain barrier, according to new research by the University of Queensland published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

For the study, researchers showed low-intensity ultrasound effectively restored cognition without opening the barrier in mice models. The findings provide a potential new avenue for the non-invasive technology and will help clinicians tailor medical treatments that consider an individual's disease progression and cognitive decline.

The research involved a designated control group who received ultrasound without the barrier-opening microbubbles. It aimed to use ultrasound to restore long-term potentiation and improved spatial learning in aged mice. Ultrasound provided a tool for overcoming challenges like the blood-brain barrier, the researchers said.

"Using ultrasound could enhance cognition independently of clearing amyloid and tau, which form plaques and tangles in people with Alzheimer's disease," said Jürgen Götz, PhD, lead author of the study, in a statement, “Microbubbles will continue to be used in combination with ultrasound in ongoing Alzheimer's [disease] research."