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Ultrasound for the brain

Posted by Hugh on March 16, 2020, at 11:56:33

A team of researchers at the University of Arizona has found that low-intensity ultrasound waves directed at a particular region of the brain's prefrontal cortex in healthy subjects can elevate mood, and decrease connectivity in a brain network that has been shown to be hyperactive in psychiatric disorders. The method uses transcranial focused ultrasound ('tFUS'), a painless, non-invasive technique to modulate brain function comparable to transcranial magnetic stimulation ('TMS'), and transcranial direct current stimulation ('tDCS'). This study shows, for the first time, a correlation between tFUS-induced mood enhancement, and reorganization of brain circuits.

Decreasing connectivity within DMN suggests the possibility of less self-referential thinking, such as worrying or rumination, and may correlate with being more 'in the moment'.

Lead author Jay Sanguinetti commented: "We're not trying to stimulate neurons to fire, nor simply activate pleasure areas, but to modulate plasticity and enable brain circuits to 're-tune' toward being more mindful in the moment.

tFUS as well as unfocused transcranial ultrasound ('TUS') are safe, painless, relatively inexpensive, and extremely promising for a variety of mental and cognitive disorders including traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer's disease, depression, Parkinson's, chronic pain and addiction.

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