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Tel Aviv University develops process that could reverse early signs of Alzheimer’s

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The new non-pharmacological method entails a promise of preventive treatments

Today, dementia affects over 5.91 million Indians in one form or another and this figure is expected to grow to over 7.6 million people by 2030. Alzheimer’s disease leads to memory loss and impaired cognitive function and is the most common cause of dementia in older adults – affecting almost 65% of all Indians Suffering from dementia. While some treatments can help reduce symptoms and sometimes reduce disease progression, there is currently no way to prevent or cure Alzheimer’s.

But now researchers from Tel Aviv University have developed a process for reversing the precursors of the disease, which provides a promising basis for new preventative treatments. This is the first time that non-drug treatment has proven effective in preventing the core of biological processes leading to the development of Alzheimer’s, and provides hope that we can now combat this great challenge.

Through hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), in which subjects breathe 100% oxygen in a special cell of high atmospheric pressure, the researchers were able to reverse the brain damage associated with the biological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s.

“In treating the root problem that causes cognitive decline with age, we are actually mapping the path to prevention,” says lead researcher Prof. Shai Efrati.

Often used to treat carbon monoxide poisoning and oxygen-starving infections, hyperbaric therapy, when applied specifically, has previously been found to repair damaged brain tissue and renew the growth of blood vessels and nerve cells in the brain. Therefore, the researchers tested its potential for Alzheimer’s.

“After a series of hyperbaric therapies, elderly patients who have already suffered from memory loss have shown an improvement in blood flow to the brain as well as a real improvement in cognitive performance,” said lead researcher Prof. Uri Asheri.

The new approach invented by the researchers unequivocally improved characteristics commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Specifically, the hyperbaric treatment resulted in:

  • Memory improvement in 16.5% of patients on average
  • Increased blood flow in 16% -23% of cases
  • Improved attention and concentration in 6% of patients
  • Improved information processing speed in 10.3% of all cases

“Our findings provide hope that we can now combat one of the greatest challenges of the Western world. According to our findings, hyperbaric treatment given at an early age may completely prevent this serious disease,” explains TAU staff member Dr. Ronit Shapira. The approach was first tested in laboratory settings They were subsequently examined in patients over the age of 65 in stages of deterioration in mental function that often preceded Alzheimer’s and dementia.The treatment included a series of 60 treatments in hyperbaric cells over a period of 90 days.

The research is part of a comprehensive research program that focuses on reversing the aging processes and diseases that accompany it. The researchers note that the findings are an encouraging step towards new approaches to Alzheimer’s prevention by addressing not only the symptoms or focusing on biological markers, but the pathology and biology at the core responsible for the development of the disease.

The Tel Aviv University team that led the study included Prof. Shai Efrati from the Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Purple Neuroscience School, Prof. Uri Asheri and Dr. Pablo Blinder from the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences and the Purple School of Neuroscience. Rabbi Ronit Shapira and Dr. Amir Hadani. They are all connected to the Shamir Medical Center. The findings were published in the journal Aging.

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