Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Brain stimulation backlash, and shaking up Alzheimers

Neurostimulation: Bright sparks : Nature : Nature Publishing Group

I overlooked this interesting article at Nature about the current state of research into mild brain stimulation (of the kind that some people are doing at home with as little as a 9 V battery, apparently.)

As it explains, it seems that there is currently something of a backlash against initially promising results, but this of itself may be a swing too far in the other direction.

I'm hoping that it turns out to be useful for Alzheimers, as well as the surprisingly blunt instrument of using ultrasound to attack the plaques on brain cells that cause the problem. 

And look, with this extract from a press release I get to make a political statement against economists like Le Sloan, who routinely dismiss government investment in medical research:
Queensland scientists have found that non-invasive ultrasound
technology can be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease and restore memory.

University of Queensland researchers discovered that the innovative
drug-free approach breaks apart the neurotoxic amyloid plaques that
result in memory loss and cognitive decline.

Welcoming the findings today at UQ’s Queensland Brain Institute,
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said they could have a wide
impact for the community.

“The Government’s $9 million investment into this technology was to
drive discoveries into clinics, and today’s announcement indicates that
together with the Queensland Brain Institute, it was a worthwhile
investment,” Ms Palaszczuk said...

“We’re extremely excited by this innovation of treating Alzheimer’s without using drug therapeutics,” Professor Götz said.

“The ultrasound waves oscillate tremendously quickly, activating
microglial cells that digest and remove the amyloid plaques that destroy
brain synapses.

“The word ‘breakthrough’ is often mis-used, but in this case I think
this really does fundamentally change our understanding of how to treat
this disease, and I foresee a great future for this approach.”

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