Ultrasonic is an energy source for many applications! It can be used to treat a range of conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, aortic stenosis and epilepsy. That’s why we regularly feature new uses for ultrasound on this news page. Today, we’re talking about a new use that looks very promising. Ultrasound could make it possible to rejuvenate cells and thus counteract the ageing of the population. But how is this possible? PRS Healthcare explains.
In France, we are facing an increasingly ageing population. According to the INSEE, by the year 2020, 20.5% of the French population will be 65 years old or older. And this phenomenon is not going to stop. In fact, according to their projections, one in four people will be over 65 by 2040. Looking further ahead, by 2070 France will have more than one elderly person for every two adults.
In a bid to improve the health of the ageing population, a group of researchers from the University of Texas have published a study on the rejuvenation of cells. The method is said to work using low-frequency ultrasound, i.e. less than 100 kilohertz. The aim is to bring cell division back to life in older people. As we age, we are confronted with the phenomenon of cellular senescence. Cells stop dividing. And these cells do not die. Instead, they build up in the tissues of the body. As a result, they release harmful substances that can lead to cancer, osteoarthritis or diabetes, for example.
However, ultrasound can be a useful tool in the fight against these diseases. At low frequencies, it has a deforming effect on cells. The effect is similar to the one produced by physical activity. Ultrasound could therefore rejuvenate cells and stimulate their proper functioning, such as the process of waste elimination.
The experiment was first carried out on old mice. The results showed that the mice that were treated with ultrasound were able to run further and faster.
The researchers then decided to try and see if this worked in humans. And their findings were promising! Thanks to ultrasound, the cells only started to wear out after 24 divisions. As a general rule, they do not go beyond 15 divisions. What’s more, one of the patients saw his hunched back heal.
Ultimately, this technique could be useful for the rejuvenation of cells in older people. They could have an improvement in their physical condition and a less rapid ageing process.