An article by Scientific American - "Battling Alzheimer's through Better Access to the Brain" - addresses recent clinical advances using focused ultrasound to disrupt the blood-brain barrier (BBB) to treat one of the most widespread neurodegenative disorders, Alzheimer's disease. According to the piece, "forty-four million people worldwide currently have Alzheimer’s disease, and one in three people over 65 years of age will develop memory loss of some sort."
The article reports on a team at West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute that has launched a US clinical trial to investigate if opening the BBB in Alzheimer's patients can reduce the debilitating plaques and cognitive decline that are the hallmarks of the disease.
This work builds on a similar trial at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto that demonstrated the feasibility and preliminary safety of focally, reversibly, and repeatedly opening the BBB in six patients. The results of that trial were published in Nature Communications in July.