Experimental Ultrasound Treatment for Alzheimer’s and Drug Addiction Shows Promise

Spread the love

A groundbreaking experimental ultrasound treatment is being tested by Dr. Ali Rezai, a neurosurgeon, to potentially slow down cognitive decline in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and help those battling drug addiction. The treatment involves directing nearly a thousand beams of ultrasound energy at specific targets in the brain.

Alzheimer’s Treatment:

  • In a trial at the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute in West Virginia, patients with Alzheimer’s wore specialized helmets during the procedure.
  • Prior to the experimental ultrasound, patients received an IV treatment of aducanumab, a drug aimed at reducing beta-amyloid plaques believed to contribute to Alzheimer’s.
  • Focused ultrasound is used to open the blood-brain barrier, allowing therapeutic drugs to penetrate the brain more effectively.
  • Brain scans of patients showed a 50% greater reduction in beta-amyloid plaques when ultrasound was applied compared to infusion alone.
  • While the treatment has shown a reduction in plaques, its impact on reversing Alzheimer’s damage is yet to be determined.

Drug Addiction Treatment:

  • Dr. Rezai extended his ultrasound research to address severe drug addiction, building on technology used for Parkinson’s disease treatment.
  • An implant, similar to that used for Parkinson’s, is inserted into the brain to target the region responsible for behavioral regulation, anxiety, and cravings related to addiction.
  • The electrical pulses from the implant aim to suppress cravings, and adjustments can be made remotely with a tablet computer.
  • A trial involving four patients with severe drug addiction showed promising results, with two remaining drug-free since their operations.
  • Dr. Rezai is now exploring ultrasound therapy for addiction, aiming hundreds of beams at the brain’s reward center to observe changes in cravings and anxiety.

Future Prospects:

  • Dr. Rezai plans to expand the use of ultrasound therapy to help individuals with other brain disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obesity.
  • The therapy, while promising, involves calculated risks, and further studies are needed to assess its long-term efficacy and safety.
  • Dr. Rezai emphasizes the importance of pushing forward with innovative treatments, given the persistence of Alzheimer’s and addiction issues in society.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *