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Ultrasound attacks Alzheimer’s plaques

With aid from microglia, treatment in mice helps improve memory

By
2:13pm, March 11, 2015
mouse brain cells

SWALLOWED WHOLE  In the brains of mice treated with ultrasound (right), the nervous system’s immune cells (green and blue), take in more bits of plaque (red) related to Alzheimer’s disease than they do in the brains of untreated mice (left).

Using high-frequency sound waves to rev up tiny air bubbles in the brain appears to treat symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in mice. The findings suggest that a similar technique could one day be used to treat the disease in humans.

Scientists in Australia injected microscopic bubbles into the blood vessels of the mice and then moved an ultrasound beam over the animals’ foreheads. The treatment reduced brain deposits of a plaque linked with Alzheimer’s disease. That change in the brain may have helped the diseased mice perform better on a series of memory tests, the researchers report March 11 in Science Translational Medicine.

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