New ultrasound technique for transcranial stimulation improves brain performance

After a six-year development, a team of researchers from the Department of Neurology at the Vienna Medical University announces a new ultrasound technique that can significantly improve brain performance, especially for people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis. In these diseases, brain neurons are constantly lost and this leads to memory loss, speech and movement disorders, mood swings and classic Parkinson’s tremors.

The researchers, led by Roland Beisteiner, have developed a new method that would be, as described in the press release published by the Viennese University’s own website, “a world first.” The ultrasound technique is non-invasive and can reach all areas of the brain to activate neurons and regenerate functions otherwise lost. The method, called transcranial ultrasound pulse stimulation (TPS), allows to penetrate and stimulate all areas of the brain with ultrasound pulses that are delivered directly into the skull.

The procedure is painless and can be performed with the patient fully conscious. The pulse emitted by the device has a wavelength between 3 and 5 mm and a length of approximately 3 cm. The method requires an accurate map of the brain previously performed by magnetic resonance imaging.

Thanks to this “navigation system”, during the procedure the neurologist can identify on the screen where the impulse is to be delivered and generally perform the entire procedure very precisely, as Beisteiner himself states.

Unlike transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), this new method provides greater precision for deep brain activation.