Dementia advance could help 2000 Central Queenslanders

A BREAKTHROUGH in treating Alzheimer's disease could help about 2000 people in Central Queensland who are living with dementia.

A new non-invasive way to treat Alzheimer's disease has been discovered at the University of Queensland, where researchers have used an ultrasound to activate cells that exist in the brain to fight off the plaques that cause memory loss and cognitive decline.

About 4% of Queensland's dementia patients live in Gladstone and Rockhampton.

Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, affecting about 70% of all cases, and researchers hope people with early signs of the disease will one day be able to undergo only a few ultrasound treatments on the brain to get rid of it.

So far researchers at UQ's Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research have used ultrasounds to restore memory loss in mice.

They studied how aging mice were able to find their way around mazes and recognise objects in a cage after undergoing the treatment.

Queensland Brain Institute director Perry Bartlett said the ultrasound treatment triggered microglial cells into action to digest and remove unwanted plaques, known as amyloids that lead to memory loss.

"This is showing that you can clear amyloid from the brain effectively," he said.

He said the microglial cells had the capacity to clear the brain of amyloid plaques, but "for some reason, they're not doing it".



Topics:  alzheimer's dementia health medical

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