By Natalie Rahhal Deputy Health Editor For Dailymail.com
Published: 10:34 GMT, 3 December 2019 | Updated: 10:44 GMT, 3 December 2019
Scientists have taken a step toward treating Alzheimer's by gaining access to hard-to-reach areas of the brain that they believe drugs to repair the disease's damage need to target, a new study reveals.
There is currently no effective cure and only minimally useful treatments for the devastating memory-loss disease.
One of the most significant challenges to treating Alzheimer's is the blood-brain barrier, a blockade of dense cells and blood vessels too solid for most drug molecules to pass through.
But using a specialized ultrasound technique, researchers at West Virginia University were able to loosen the weave of the barrier temporarily and safely in three Alzheimer's patients.
Though the researchers aren't yet delivering drugs to the memory areas they can now reach, there's some evidence the ultrasound itself may help to reduce Alzheimer's plaques.
Researchers used an ultrasound 'helmet' to temporarily loosen the blood-brain that blocks Alzheimer's treatments from reaching memory centers in the brain (file)
'We were able to open the blood-brain barrier in a very precise manner and document closure of the barrier within 24 hours,' said Dr Rashi Mehta, study co-author.
'The technique was reproduced successfully in the patients,