Researchers Discover Way To Slow Down Brain’s Aging Process

Researchers may have discovered a way to slow down the brain’s process of aging, which could have implications for people who will develop Alzheimer’s and dementia.

The results were unexpected. The researchers accidentally found that ultrasounds or sound wave therapy could have slowed the aging process in laboratory mice.

Dr. Robert Hatch from the University of Queensland located in Australia was the researcher who said they found the technique slowed the normal reduction of cells in the hippocampus, the brain’s memory center.

Dr. Hatch is now hoping that this technique could be a routine procedure for people, comparing it to getting your car tuned up. He hopes that if this procedure is effective the routine procedure could then prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia that come with the aging process.

The researchers were continuing research that they did last year that showed ultrasounds could reverse the damage of Alzheimer’s disease in mice. The results came as a surprise to the scientists.

The current research was done to make sure that the ultrasound treatment would not damage a healthy brain. They found out that not only did the ultrasound not damage the brain, but also that the ultrasound could slow down the aging process in the brain.

The paper was published October 11, 2016 in the online journal PLOS One. The lead author was Dr. Hatch. The paper was titled “Scanning Ultrasound (SUS) Causes No Changes to Neuronal Excitability and Prevents Age-Related Reductions in Hippocampal CA1 Dendritic Structure in Wild-Type Mice.”

The paper said, “Collectively, these data suggest that ultrasound can be employed to prevent an age-associated loss of dendritic structure without impairing neuronal excitability.”

They are now investigating whether or not their findings could help stop the brain from deteriorating in learning and memory in aging humans.

Dr. Hatch believed that the ultrasound treatment worked by activating certain cells that behaved like immune cells in the brain. When these cells are activated, it temporarily opens the blood-brain barrier and helps clear out toxic protein clumps in the brain. The ultrasound treatment is actually helping to maintain the brain in a more healthy state.

When the researchers understand how a healthy brain changes, they might be able to better understand what to do when something goes wrong. They envision once research is done and they get the treatment approved, that they will be able to bring people in for routine ultrasound treatments. It would be like getting a tune up on your car. It would hopefully preserve the brain cells before patients develop Alzheimer’s or dementia.


Gordon Johnson

Attorney Gordon Johnson is one of the nations leading brain injury advocates. He is Past-Chair of the TBILG, a national group of more than 150 brain injury advocates. He has spoken at numerous brain injury seminars and is the author of some of the most read brain injury web pages on the internet.

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